The Public Theater at Astor Place Façade Restoration Entry and Lobby Redesign

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The Public Theater at Astor Place Façade Restoration Entry and Lobby Redesign

A careful blend of modern and historic elements revitalizes The Public Theater’s identity, reflects the nature of The Public’s acclaimed theatrical work, both traditional and experimental, and renders the building a welcoming, vibrant and accessible destination.

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One of the first non-profit theaters in the country, The Public Theater defines its mission in terms of cultural and creative accessibility. Representing this mission in the building’s renovation design informed our approach to this historic landmark.

Duncan Hazard, Management Partner
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The renovation restores a sense of procession and grandeur that had been lost in unfortunate interventions to the historic structure over decades.

The design preserves the historic structure, which had fallen into disrepair over decades of neglect, and enriches the theater experience with a dramatic new sequence of arrival, enlarged lobby and modern patron amenities.

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A new glass and steel canopy enhances the theater’s presence on the street, provides cover for patrons and allows a clear view of the newly restored and lighted facade above.

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The exterior stair, accessible ramp and widened sidewalk further the mission of The Public to increase accessibility and foster public engagement. Complementing the building’s brownstone facade, the stair and ramps are monolithic granite. 

The exterior monumental stair serves as an additional stage, enhancing the dynamic dialogue between the theater and the city. Its addition allowed the reclamation of lobby space that had been lost in a past renovation where the stoop was removed and the entry stair brought inside the building.

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The revitalized lobby rationalizes The Public’s interior, orienting theatergoers by providing a visual connection to the various venues within the building and encourages the cross-pollination of audiences from the five theaters and Joe’s Pub. New patron amenities – box office, coat check, mezzanine overlook – reinforce the vitality of this gathering space.

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New York, NY
35,000 GSF
Entry Stair, Lobby, Gathering Spaces, Patron Amenities
LEED Certified (pursuing)


Management Partner
Duncan Hazard
Design Counsel
James S. Polshek
Project Designer
Stephen P-D Chu
Project Manager
Damyanti Radheshwar
Project Architect
Kevin Baxter
Design Team
Edward Christian, Gregory Smith


  • 2013
    • Bronze Award of Honor, Society of American Registered Architects/New York Council


  • 2013
    • Hill, John. "The Public Theater" (A Weekly Dose of Architecture, 5/21/2013)
    • Seward, Aaron. "In Detail: The Public Theater" (Architects Newspaper, 4/8/2013)
  • 2012
    • Gordon, David. "Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, and Other Luminaries Unveil Revitalized Public Theater" (Theater Mania, 10/4/2012)
    • Hetrick, Adam. "Public Theater Unveils $40 Million Renovation of Lafayette Street Home Oct. 4" (Playbill, 10/4/2012)
    • Pogrebin, Robin. "Come for Drinks, Stay for the Drama, at The Public" (The New York Times, 9/21/2012)
    • "The Public Theater to Unveil Revitalized Downtown Home This Fall" (Art Daily, 4/9/2012)
    • Polsky, Sara. "Public Theater Will Raise Curtain on Renovation This Fall" (Curbed, 4/2/2012)
    • Soloski, Alexis. "Oskar Eustis Seizes the Moment" (American Theatre, 12/2012)
  • 2011
    • "Public Theater Receives $2 Million Grant From Ford Foundation" (, 10/27/2011)
  • 2002
    • Gray, Christopher. "Once It Held Many Pages; Now It Has Many Stages" (The New York Times, 2/10/2002)


Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
Brandston Partnership, Inc.
Pentagram Design, Inc.
Houghton Associates LLC
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Historic Preservation
Building Conservation Associates, Inc.
Robert Schwartz & Associates
Food Service
Clevenger Frable LaVallee, Inc.
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
Sam Schwartz Engineering
Design 2147
Construction Manager
Westerman Construction Co, Inc.
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Ear Studio