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.
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.
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.
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
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
Ennead Design Team
James S. Polshek, 1930-2022, Timothy Hartung, Tomas Rossant, Tyler Donaldson, Megan Miller, Pat Golden, Benjamin Gilmartin, Hidenao Abe, Ray Brown, Elliott Hodges, Lauren Kleinberg, Hyunjoo 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
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Katherine Newbegin/Ennead Architects
Industrial Design Excellence Award
Gordon, Amanda. "At 30, Symphony Space Is in Fine Form" (The New York Sun, 1/14/2008)
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)
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)
"Filling the Space Atop Symphony Space" (The New York Times, 7/8/1999)
Kilgannon, Corey. "Symphony Space Shows Its Virtuosity in Art of the Deal" (The New York Times, 11/29/1998)