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

0707 Public 2013 Jg04 502

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.

0707 Public 2013 Jg04 503

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
0707 Public Rendering Historic

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.

0707 Public

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.

0707 Public Dsc 3758
0707 Public 2013 Jg04 507

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.

0707 Public 2013 Jg04 505

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.

0707 Public 2013 Jg04 531
0707 Public Dsc 8978
0707 Public 2013 Jg04 532
0707 Public Dsc 5803
0707 Public Aw Opening


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


Ennead Design Team
Duncan Hazard, James S. Polshek, 1930-2022, Stephen PD Chu, Damyanti Radheshwar, Kevin Baxter, Edward Christian, Gregory Smith
Historic Preservation Consultant
Building Conservation Associates, Inc.
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Ear Studio


  • 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)