Tour: The Public Theater at Astor Place

The Public Theater at Astor Place is a Renaissance Revival building originally constructed in 1853 as the first Astor Library, a gift of John Jacob Astor to the people of the City of New York. In 1967, Joe Papp saved the building from demolition and re-envisioned it as the home of The Public Theater. Today it houses six distinct performance venues that accommodate a wide range of programming – from the classic to the contemporary. The design’s careful blend of modern and historic elements reflects the nature of the acclaimed theatrical work for which The Public Theater is renowned – both traditional and experimental. This tour will look at how the new entry and lobby redesign by Ennead Architects completes the revitalization of this groundbreaking New York City institution, bringing back the sense of procession and grandeur that had been lost over the past decades’ series of building interventions.

Project Designer Stephen Chu will discuss the challenges faced and lessons learned in the recent award-winning renovation by Ennead Architects which has preserved the essential character of the landmark building, expresses The Public’s core values of accessibility and community engagement and enriches the theater experience with modern patron amenities and a dramatic new sequence of arrival at the theater.


Stephen Chu, AIA –Associate Partner, Ennead Architects

Stephen Chu is an Associate Partner in Ennead Architects and the project designer leading the recent award-winning renovation of The Public Theater at Astor Place. He has been with the firm since 1996 and has been project designer for many of Ennead’s notable performing arts projects including: Stanford University Bing Concert Hall, New York City Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Other prominent institutional projects include: the Yale University Art Gallery, Kahn Building Renovation, New York University Langone Medical Center, Kimmel Pavilion, and New York University, Center for Comparative Functional Genomics. Mr. Chu received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with High Honors from the University of California at Berkeley, College of Environmental Design. He also spent a year at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice, Italy studying urban public spaces. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and serves as a guest juror for the University of California at Berkeley, the California College of Arts and Columbia University.

Please assemble just inside the lobby at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street.


Event Details:

  • When: 

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013
    4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

  • Where: 

    Astor Place Public Theater
    425 Lafayette St
    New York, NY

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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