Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 16.3-acre (6.6 ha) complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York City's Upper West Side. Reynold Levy has been its president since 2002.
A consortium of civic leaders and others led by, and under the initiative of John D. Rockefeller III, built Lincoln Center as part of the "Lincoln Square Renewal Project" during Robert Moses's program of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Seventeen blocks of ethnic tenement neighborhoods were demolished through eminent domain, forcing out 7,000 families. Respected architects were contacted to design the major buildings on the site, and over the next thirty years the previously blighted area around Lincoln Center became a new cultural hub. Rockefeller was Lincoln Center's inaugural president from 1956 and became its chairman in 1961. He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing on his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project.
While the center was named because it was located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, it is unclear whether the area was named as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. The name was bestowed on the area in 1906 by the New York City Board of Aldermen, but records give no reason for choosing that name. There has long been speculation that the name came from a local landowner, because the square was previously named Lincoln Square. However, city records from the time show only the names Johannes van Bruch, Thomas Hall, Stephan de Lancey, James de Lancey, James de Lancey Jr. and John Somerindyck as area property owners. One speculation is that references to Abraham Lincoln were omitted from the records because the mayor in 1906 was George B. McClellan, Jr., son of General George B. McClellan who was general-in-chief of the Union Army during the Civil War and a bitter rival of Lincoln.
The first structure to be completed and occupied as part of this renewal was theFordham Law School ofFordham University in 1962. Located between Columbusand Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the Lincoln Center complex was the first gathering of major cultural institutions into a centralized location in an American city.
Lincoln Center cultural institutions also make use of facilities located away from the main campus. In 2004, Lincoln Center was expanded through the addition of Jazz at Lincoln Center's newly built facilities (Frederick P. Rose Hall) at the new Time Warner Center, located a few blocks to the south. In March 2006, Lincoln Center launched construction on a major redevelopment plan that will modernize, renovate, and open up the Lincoln Center campus in time for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.
The development of 3 Lincoln Center, completed in 1991, designed by Lee S Jablin, Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School.
In March 2006, Lincoln Center launched the 65th Street Project—part of a major redevelopment plan continuing through 2010—to create a new pedestrian promenade designed to improve accessibility and the aesthetics of that area of the campus. Subsequent projects were added which addressed improvements to the main plazas and Columbus Avenue Grand Entrance. Under the direction of the Lincoln Center Development Project, Inc. Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FXFOWLE Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects provided the design services. Additionally, Turner Construction Company and RCDolner, LLC are the construction managers for the projects.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA) is one of the 12 resident organizations, and serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. As a presenter of more than 400 events annually, its programs, known collectively as "Lincoln Center Presents", include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Emmy Award-winning Live from Lincoln Center.
Architects who designed buildings at Lincoln Center include:
- Max Abramovitz: Avery Fisher Hall
- Pietro Belluschi: The Juilliard School (including Alice Tully Hall)
- Gordon Bunshaft: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Wallace Harrison: Lincoln Center master plan & Metropolitan Opera House
- Lee S Jablin: 3 Lincoln Center
- Philip Johnson: New York State Theater, now known as the David H. Koch Theater
- Eero Saarinen: Vivian Beaumont Theater
Alice Tully Hall
Alice Tully Hall is a concert hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. It is named for Alice Tully, a New York performer and philanthropist whose donations assisted in the construction of the hall. Tully Hall is located within the JuilliardBuilding, a Brutalist structure, which was designed by renowned architectPietro Belluschi, and completed and opened in 1969. Since its opening, it has hosted numerous performances and events, including the New York Film Festival.
As part of the Lincoln Center 65th Street Development Project, the Juilliard School and Tully Hall recently underwent a major renovation and expansion by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and FXFOWLE, completed in 2009. The building utilizes new interior materials, state-of-the-art technologies, and updated equipment for concerts, film, theater, and dance. The expansion of the Juilliard Building created a three-story all-glass lobby and sunken plaza beneath a new, cantilevered extension, “projecting a newly visible public identity to Broadway.”
What makes the Tully Hall/Juilliard expansion important are two stories: one of urban design and a re-imagining of public space, and one of creating a dialogue between Modernist and “Contemporary/Post-Modern” architecture that preserves the past while advancing new ideas in design.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro were chosen in 2003 as the design architects to redevelop Lincoln Center’s 65th Street corridor, after defeating Norman Foster, Richard Meier, and Santiago Calatrava in a 2002 design competition.Founded in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (Charles Renfro became a partner in 2004), they are an interdisciplinary firm with few built works (most notably the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the High Line Park in New York City), but they have been highly influential in the realms of architectural criticism and theory, and are the only architects to be awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant. They are well known for a wide variety of artistic installations, built on the themes of display, tourism, surveillance, ritual, control, and selling and buying. The plan envisioned transforming West 65th Street into a “Street of the Arts,” making it a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Elizabeth Diller, partner-in-charge of the project, “imagined a Lincoln Center that is more Lincoln Center than Lincoln Center.” As she stated:
“Rather than replace the image of this cultural icon with one alien to it, we propose to amplify its most successful features and fulfill its unrealized potential. The challenge is to interpret the genetic code of this 'Monumental Modernism' into a language for younger, more diverse audiences following several generations of cultural and political change. We would like to turn the campus inside-out by extending the intensity within the performance halls into the mute public spaces between those halls and the surrounding streets. The range of the project's scope requires an effort that dissolves boundaries between urban planning, architecture, streetscape and landscape design.”
True to their methods of weaving architectural design with performance and electronic media, DS+R envision Tully Hall as an active participant in a performance, and not merely a house for one. Regarding the way in which the renovated theatre’s walls glow (a result of LED lights embedded beneath translucent resin panels), DS+R’s website states:
“Like the raising of a chandelier or the parting of a curtain signaling the start of performance, the blush will be part of the performance choreography; a hush will fall in the seconds of transition from distraction to attention when the blushing walls become the first performer.”
The main plaza of Lincoln Center, with LED marquees embedded in the risers of the extended staircase
LED information displays along West 65th Street, a.k.a. the "Street of the Arts"
At Lincoln Center, DS+R recently completed the sloping grass-roofed Hypar Pavilion and Illumination Lawn, and designed the installation for Fashion Week 2010. Furthermore, they have redesigned Lincoln Center’s public spaces, enhancing the fountain in the Josie Robertson Plaza, installing benches, and creating outdoor seating areas. They embeddedLED lights in the risers of a new grand stair that leads from Columbus Avenue to the central Josie Robertson Plaza, which display marquees and acts as an “electronic welcome mat.” The Promenade project depressed a roadway beneath the stair to enable vehicular access for dropping off and picking up patrons, in order to relieve congestion along Columbus Avenue during busy performance times. Along the 65th Street corridor, DS+R have designed 13 vertical 4-by-8-foot LED screens called blades that will provide information about the performances at Lincoln Center through the use of video and text. The architects designed the video content as well. Diller felt that the monumental scale of the buildings at Lincoln Center “needed to be softened up by a different, pedestrian scale,” noting that the use of such media is part of the architectural expression of this softening.
Liz Diller discusses the ways in which architects challenge themselves to change in FLYPs short documentary. See the full story on Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio at http://www.flypmedia.com/issues/35/#6/1
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