Carnegie Hall, Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall

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Carnegie Hall, Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall

Zankel Hall allows Carnegie to expand its musical program and provide a flexible, mid-sized hall for artistic growth, completing Andrew Carnegie’s original intent of three great stages under one roof.

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Outside the auditorium, the ellipse appears infinite; its curvature leads the audience around to each point of entry to the house. Nested within the ellipse are four freestanding walls, paneled in American Sycamore, that define the acoustic volume. The geometrical contrast in the design echoes the mutability of the Hall’s various stages.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner
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Inserted into the existing building envelope, the entirely new 640-seat theater contains two seating levels and can be reconfigured into three differently-sized end stages, an end stage with orchestra pit , center stage and a flat floor; the space is also used as an educational facility. 

Determined largely by acoustical requirements, the multi-use performance hall is a rectangle within a canted reinforced concrete ellipse. This venue maintains Carnegie’s standards of excellence in acoustics, while accommodating the latest in contemporary technology.

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Approximately 6,300 cubic yards of bedrock were excavated from below the landmark building to create Zankel Hall, which is directly below Stern Auditorium, Carnegie’s main performance venue, and adjacent an active subway line. Acoustic isolation is absolute, allowing simultaneous performances.

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The curved structural walls dramatically reinforce the hall’s individual identity by separating the performance space from the historic building envelope.

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New York, NY
40,100 GSF
599-seat Multi-Use Performance Space, Lobby, Street-Level Entry Marquee


Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, James S. Polshek, 1930-2022, Joseph Fleischer, Charles Griffith, Thomas Wong, Charles Brainerd, David Ooyevaar, Charmian Place, Ghiora Aharoni, Ruth Berktold, Peter Brooks, Rebecca Carpenter, Robert Condon, Anna Ho, Alex Leung, Jane Lin, James Sinks, Alina Tesmer, Robert Young, Jonathan Zane
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Chris Lee


  • 2004
    • Honor Award, AIA/New York Chapter, 2004
    • Cultural Project of the Year, New York Construction News, 2004
    • Engineering Excellence Award, Structural Systems Category, 2004
    • USITT Architecture Award, United States Institute of Theatre Technology, 2004
  • 2003
    • Public Spaces Award, Contract Magazine's Interiors Awards, 2003
    • Institutional Project of the Year, Best of 2003, New York Construction, 2003


  • 2005
    • Weathersby, William Jr. "Polshek Partnership Returns a Third Performance Space to the Carnegie Hall Master Plan, Elegantly Expanding Underground" (Architectural Record, 1/2005)
  • 2003
    • Davidson, Justin. "The Hall Below: Carnegie's new auditorium runs deep" (Newsday, 9/10/2003)
    • Jepson, Barbara. "That Percussionist Is the Local Train" (The Wall Street Journal, 9/23/2003)
    • Kozinn, Allan. "A Three Ring House of Music, Willing and Able to Surprise" (The New York Times, 9/12/2003)
    • Kozinn, Allan. "Modernity With a Fuss.After All, Why Not?" (The New York Times, 9/16/2003)
    • Muschamp, Herbert. "Design that Shape-Shifts on Demand" (The New York Times, 9/12/2003)
    • Pogrebin, Robin . "A New Underground at Carnegie, in More Ways Than One" (The New York Times, 4/3/2003)
  • 2002
    • Dunlap, David W. "When Expansion Leads to Inner Space" (The New York Times, 5/5/2002)
  • 2000
    • Dunlap, David W . "Carnegie Hall Grows the Only Way It Can" (The New York Times, 1/30/2000)
  • 1998
    • Blumenthal, Ralph. "Carnegie Hall Expanding, Using Underground Space" (The New York Times, 12/14/1998)