Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts - (Page 31)

feature Playing a New Tune Brooklyn College gets a renewed image, an updated performing arts center, and a grand entrance, all in one B Y R I C H A RD S TA U B O verhauling Gershwin Hall was supposed to be a straightforward project. The 1950s, threestory academic building on Brooklyn College's Midwood, Brooklyn, campus had gone untouched for decades, except for piecemeal fixes. The building consisted of a theater, practice and rehearsal rooms, and a recording studio for the college's highly regarded school of music. The plan was to give it a complete overhaul. But then Pfeiffer Partners Architects' New York office took a closer look. Its examination showed that a top-to-bottom renovation still wouldn't meet the school's needs. Though next to a major campus entrance, the hall's stoic façade made the college feel unwelcoming to prospective students, faculty, and the surrounding community. And the gateway itself was more workaday than the stately campus deserved. The bottom line was that the renovation would cost as much as a new building, $65 million, so the college decided to start over - with a donor footing much of the bill. At the center of the college's 35-acre campus is a handsome ensemble of neo-Georgian buildings framing a quad with the aura of much older New England universities. "We wanted our design to reinforce the campus's historic quality but be more transparent," says Jean Marie Gath, LEED AP, firm principal. "The building had the potential to serve the college and community in many more ways than it had." And indeed it will. The 64,000-square-foot, three-story Leonard & Claire Tow Performing Arts Center, now under CLIENT: Brooklyn College Leonard & Claire Tow Performing Arts Center ARCHITECT: Pfeiffer Partners Architects DESIGN TEAM: Jean Marie Gath, LEED AP, Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA, Lorenzo Mattii, David Prendergast, RA, Han Kim LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects THEATER CONSULTING, ACOUSTICIAN, STRUCTURAL, MEP, CODE, VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, SECURITY, LEED: Arup CIVIL, GEOTECHNICAL, SURVEY: KS Engineers A/V AND TECHNOLOGY: Cerami & Associates ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design GRAPHICS/SIGNAGE: Two Twelve WATERPROOFING: Israel Berger & Associates ASBESTOS INVESTIGATION: Matrix New World Engineering SPECIFICATIONS: Construction Specifications COST ESTIMATING: VJ Associates CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Hill International construction, will present a more energized face to the community, an up-to-date 200-seat performance facility and practice and rehearsal rooms, a formal campus gateway, and a green extension of the campus. (In the meantime, rehearsals and other functions are being conducted elsewhere on the campus.) The most telling change is the street façade. Glass walls on three floors will give passersby a look into the new 200-seat, flexible theater's twostory lobby/reception space. The lounge outside the third floor's practice and rehearsal rooms will also be visible. And there's a two-story LED sign announcing the college. With these areas lit and in constant use, the college's vitality will be on display. (Also on the first floor are a scene shop and sound lab, and on the second are a music rehearsal room and a terrace that overlooks the street.) "To create a formal gateway, we extended the third floor to a stair tower on the other side of the entry," says Gath. "It will have a guard house in the base, the name of the college along its side, and be realigned to meet the street that leads to it. Entering the campus will present a sense of occasion." The specially paved pedestrian street, which connects with the historic quad, will open to a gathering area just inside the gateway. The unused, concrete-covered area between Gershwin and the adjacent 2,000-seat theater building will become a terraced green space. And the college will come that much more into its own. < Richard Staub is a marketing consultant and writer who focuses on issues important to the design and building community. ©Pfeiffer Partners Architects ©Pfeiffer Partners Architects The Brooklyn College Leonard & Claire Tow Performing Arts Center will present an energized and welcoming face to the community. The two-story lobby will also serve as a special event space for Brooklyn College. Institutional Shifts Spring 2016 Oculus 31

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts

Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The Intersection of Technology and Walkability
The Challenges of Expansion
A Win-Win at Rockefeller University
Course Requirements
1,087 Windows (and a Unique Focus) on the City
Tech Time
Playing a New Tune
A More Perfect Union
Social Innovation by Design
In Print
117-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts