Kennedy Center Expansion Project Will Include Outdoor Video Wall and Performance Space

By Andrew Gans
01 Feb 2013

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced an expansion project to be constructed south of the existing facility.



The expansion will include rehearsal space, dedicated classroom space and multipurpose rooms for the Center’s arts education and arts management education programs as well as public access spaces that include gardens, an outdoor video wall (upon which simulcast performances and other multimedia events may be projected) and an outdoor performance space on the river.

The expansion will be designed by Steven Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy of Steven Holl Architects.

“I am proud to announce the selection of acclaimed Steven Holl Architects for the Kennedy Center expansion project and look forward to working with one of the foremost architects of our time,” stated Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Steven’s wonderful concept will create a strong visual presence that bolsters the Center’s prominence as the national cultural center, while maintaining its unique presence among Washington’s iconic landmarks.”

Architect Holl remarked, “It is a great honor to design the extension to the Kennedy Center, a ‘Living Memorial.’ In that spirit ours is part of a vital architecture, providing much needed rehearsal space, and classrooms with natural light and ventilation.”

Holl’s initial concept for the project, according to press notes, "includes three connected pavilions that will house classrooms, rehearsal rooms, lecture space, multipurpose rooms, and limited office space. In the initial concept, one pavilion will float on the Potomac River and offer an outdoor stage. Public gardens will fill out the space, fusing the Kennedy Center with the landscape and river. The exteriors will utilize translucent Okalux, glass, and Carrara marble, the same Italian marble which clads the original facility. The silhouette of the current building will be preserved by connecting the new structure underground and via the main plaza. A formal design will be created and announced in the coming months."

Kennedy Center president Michael M. Kaiser added, “The Kennedy Center has the largest arts education program in the country without having any dedicated facilities to serve these growing programs. I’m so pleased the Kennedy Center will have spaces specifically designed for these functions to help fulfill our mission of bringing arts education to students across Washington and to millions of people across the country.”

The project is expected to cost approximately $100 million. Kennedy Center chairman Rubenstein will donate $50 million toward the design and construction of the new building. The Center has begun a fundraising campaign of $125 million: $50 million more for the expansion project and an additional $25 million for major programming initiatives in the years ahead.