Mikhail Baryshnikov’s arts center in Manhattan will open a new theater in February of next year. Promised to be one of the most technically advanced theaters of its size, the Jerome Robbins Theater will reside in the 37 ARTS Building at 450 West 37th Street, the six-story building whose top three floors house the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
In 2007, the center entered into negotiations with building owner the West 37th Street Group to rent out one of its three theaters, and it has since been working with a team of architects, engineers and acoustics and theater consultants to renovate the space. The space’s visual sight lines have been dramatically improved, and a state-of-the-art lighting system has been installed. A fully motorized rigging system with a 1,750-pound capacity will facilitate high-tech theatrical feats.
“The design of the Jerome Robbins Theater has focused on the experience of both performer and audience member,” said WASA/Studio A architect Martin Kapell, who worked on the space.
The sentiment was echoed by the center’s executive director, Stanford Makishi, who said the renovation’s objective was to enhance “the audience/performer relationship to reflect the philosophy and aesthetic of the BAC.”
The project’s incorporation of recycled content and sustainable materials has earned it LEED certification. The theater was paid for, in large part, by a grant from the Jerome Robbins Foundation. Grants from other foundations and from the city made up the remaining funds.
“The Jerome Robbins Theater will be a destination for performance groups and artists from around the world,” said Jon Denham of Denham Wolf Real Estate, the project manager of the renovation work, who also helped the Baryshnikov Arts Center purchase the property in November of 2008. “The process of developing the project has been a reflection of how the BAC works—multidisciplinary and collaborative in every aspect.”