Just last week, we reported that the Theater for a New Audience began construction on a new LEED-seeking theater, and now we’ve learned that another green performing arts center in the borough is also in the works. Brooklyn College broke ground this May on the new Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, an exciting modern addition to the eastern campus’s art quadrangle, set for completion by 2014. Designed by Pfeiffer Partners Architects, the building is also seeking LEED certification, which would make it the college’s first LEED building.
“We wanted to create a building that is a portal—a signifier—of the campus,” said Lorenzo Mattii, lead designer from Pfeiffer Partners Architects, in a report by the Architect’s Newspaper. “We wanted to open up the building to the neighborhood.”
One of Mattii’s main challenges was to complement the new center’s contemporary architectural design with the campus’s original Gregorian inspired buildings. To harmonize the connection, a glass-filled gateway facade resembling “a staccato rhythm of glass, brick, and metal that recalls a curtain drawing open” was created, along with a pattern extending into the lobby, providing a direct visual connection to the street.
Mattii designed the recital halls, practice rooms, and rehearsal spaces using a “boxes within a box” concept. Each of the rooms were built on top of isolation pads, with double-layer walls, in an effort to enhance acoustic quality. Keeping this concept in mind, the 212-seat theater and recital hall was also built using 3.5-foot thick walls in order to better maintain sound quality. Four layers of fiberboard further ensure a rich bass and treble sound.
The center’s sleek rehearsal, production, and performance space will be used by both the Conservatory of Music and the Department of Theater. Along with the Art, Film, and Television and Radio departments, the new center will collectively house all of the college’s creative programs under the new School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts.
The center is an exciting addition to the Brooklyn Campus, and part of an interesting trend in Brooklyn’s green art conservatories. By the looks of it, the trend is slowly catching on.