Gehry’s Signature

East, Newsletter
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time to hit refresh on another Gehry project that is opening within these city walls. There was a time when Gehry couldn’t get a Big Apple commission off the ground: no mega-Gugg on the Eastside, no New York Times across from the Port Authority.  Now they are popping up all over, with IAC a Chelsea fixture, the public school at New York by Gehry on Spruce Street pumping out sassy little brats from day one. Today, we are reminded that the Signature—once part of the performing arts package at ground zero—is opening in February in Times Square. And it’s only spent $6 million over the original $60 mill cost (with $25 from the city). The block-sized theater is at 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenue, and it is the largest non-profit performing arts center to be built in New York since Lincoln Center.

Here’s the part of the press release that was about architecture:

Designed by Frank Gehry, working hand-in-hand with Signature Theatre leadership, the 70,000-square-foot Signature Center will feature three theatres of different character and configurations, providing playwrights a number of dynamic performance areas in which to set their work.  The theatres include:

  • a 199-seat proscenium theatre, modeled after a traditional opera house
  • a 199-seat flexible courtyard theatre
  • a 299-seat end stage theatre

These intimate, state-of-the-art stages, all located on one contiguous floor, are complemented by a studio theatre and dedicated rehearsal studio, extensive back-of-house facilities, and administrative offices.  Signature Center also features an expansive main lobby with a café and bookstore that are open to the public.

“There is something magical that happens when one attends a live performance, an interaction between actors and audience that is palpable,” noted architect Frank Gehry.  “I wanted to create a space that celebrates and enhances the intimacy between the performer and the audience, while encouraging the innovation that Signature is known for. We have worked very hard to foster this in the three theatres, while allowing each to have its own identity.”









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