Privately owned and funded, the Harmony Atrium opened in 1979 as a gathering place for local residents and tourists; activities included a free weekly one-hour musical performance. The space is currently underused.
Lincoln Center plans to maximize use of the space with free performances, civic events, educational services, cafes and free wi-fi access; it will also use the Atrium as a distribution point for tickets and information about Lincoln Center events.
Construction work on the estimated $10-$15 million project is scheduled to begin next summer and to be complete by fall 2008, as a prelude to Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary in 2009.
Williams and Tsien's initial ideas for the 6,900-square foot space incorporate materials used throughout Lincoln Center with the aim of achieving an open, accessible and inviting environment.
Recent projects by the firm include the American Folk Art Museum in New York City; the master plan for a 25-acre campus in Bombay; an East Asian Library at the University of California at Berkeley; the Asia Society Hong Kong; the Cranbrook Natatorium in Michigan; Skirkanich Hall at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the new Phoenix Art Museum.
Liz Diller, whose firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is designing the first two projects in the Lincoln Center renovation, said, "Tod and Billie are among the most principled and rigorous architects practicing today. Their resistance to architectural trends, their poetic approach to site and program, their rich use of materials, and their attention to detail are all part of their distinctive trademark."
The design team for the Harmony Atrium will include Michael Bierut of Pentagram, a New York City-based design consultancy whose recent projects include the development of a new identity and signage for the expanded Morgan Library and Museum and the development of environmental graphics for the New York Times Building.