Peter Norton Symphony Space

9840 Symphony Space Hero

Peter Norton Symphony Space

A composition of interlocking planes and blocks of glass, aluminum and cement plaster, which wraps the corner site, is the public expression of Symphony Space’s modernization. The new theater complex unifies the Symphony Space and Thalia theaters and foregrounds the much-loved destination against the residential tower that envelops it.

9840 Symphony Space Sketch

While Symphony Space was sorely in need of modernization, the quandary became how to retain memories, reinforce identity and distinguish their space from the luxury rental units being developed atop them.

James S. Polshek, Design Partner

In addition to preserving the 827-seat Symphony Space Theater and recreating the Thalia as a flexible theater that allows end-stage or cabaret-style configurations, the project unifies the two venues by means of circulation, the addition of a new box office and lobby space and a new café. 

9840 Symphony Space Entry
9840 Symphony Space Thalia

Extending along Broadway and turning the corner along 95th Street and inspired by 1920s De Stijl design, the façade is a marriage of architecture and graphics – a cantilevered cut-out sheet of aluminum plate that identifies the institution and physically binds Symphony Space and the Thalia together.

Symphony Space first opened on Broadway and West 95th Street in Manhattan in 1978 and has been a vital part of New York’s cultural landscape ever since.


New York, NY
24,800 GSF
827-seat Theater, 175-seat Flexible Venue, Associated Support Spaces, Renovated Lobby and Box Office, New Offices, Flexible Thalia Theater with End-Stage and Cabaret-Style Configurations


Design Partner
James S. Polshek
Management Partner
Timothy Hartung
Project Designer
Tomas Rossant
Project Managers
Tyler Donaldson, Megan Miller
Project Architect
Pat Golden
Job Captain
Benjamin Gilmartin
Charmian Place
Design Team
Hidenao Abe, Ray Brown, Elliott Hodges, Lauren Kleinberg, Hyunho Lee, Jane Lin, Juan Matiz, Craig McIlhenny, Sherrill Moore, Ed Rice, Ivan Rupnik, Marc Schaut, Jill Sicinski, David Stuart, Daniel Stube, Dorota Szwem, Michael Tyre, Yvonne Yang, John Zimmer


  • 2003
    • Industrial Design Excellence Award


  • 2008
    • Gordon, Amanda. "At 30, Symphony Space Is in Fine Form" (The New York Sun, 1/14/2008)
  • 2004
    • French, Leanne. "A De-Stiljl -inspired marquee puts a new face on Symphony Space" (Architectural Record, 3/2004)
    • "I hear a symphony" (Array, 2004 Fall)
  • 2002
    • Haberman, Clyde. "The Rebirth of a Temple for Film Fans" (The New York Times, 4/13/2002)
    • Wilson, Peter. "A Prince Among Streets" (Arca, 10/2002)
  • 1999
    • "Filling the Space Atop Symphony Space" (The New York Times, 7/8/1999)
  • 1998
    • Kilgannon, Corey. "Symphony Space Shows Its Virtuosity in Art of the Deal" (The New York Times, 11/29/1998)


Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.
Pentagram Design, Inc.
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Ducibella Venter & Santore
Construction Specifications, Inc.
Code/Life Safety
Jerome S. Gillman Consulting Architect, P.C.
Cost Estimating
Wolf & Company, P.C.
Food Service
Cini-Little International
General Contractor
Innovax-Pillar Construction
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Katherine Newbegin/Ennead Architects