October 24, 2007
Stanford selects New York firm to design 900-seat concert hall
Polshek Partnership Architects, an internationally recognized firm, will design a new performing arts center at Stanford University, initially focusing on a 900-seat concert hall that will serve as the project's cornerstone, President John Hennessy announced today.
Richard Olcott and Timothy Hartung will lead the design team for the hall, which is slated to open in 2012.
Polshek has designed arts venues for New York's Carnegie Hall and the Public Theater, Santa Fe Opera Theater and San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Olcott's work at Stanford includes the Cantor Center for Visual Arts (an expansion and renovation of the university's museum following the Loma Prieta earthquake) and the new Stanford Law School Academic Building, which is still in its planning stages. Among his other projects is the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark.
The announcement caps the Stanford Performing Arts Committee's five-month review and selection process.
Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, one of the world's foremost acousticians, has been tapped to work on the concert hall's acoustic design. Toyota's high-profile projects include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Theater-design consultant Fisher Dachs Associates will collaborate on the project. One of the world's leading theater planning and design consultants, Fisher Dachs has helped to develop more than 400 performing arts projects for commercial and nonprofit theaters, universities, cities and cultural organizations, such as Radio City Music Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and Lincoln Center.
Hennessy said that the construction of the concert hall "will bring increased creative talent and energy to Stanford's academic mission and the community's cultural life."
The concert hall was made possible by a $50 million gift from Helen and Peter Bing, '55. The facility will provide a platform for a variety of live performances, including chamber, jazz, orchestral, multimedia, concert opera and choral programs presented by Stanford Lively Arts and the Department of Music, as well as other university and student-performance organizations. It also will provide a venue for symposia, allow longer residencies for visiting artists and help to foster new works and collaborations.
The university's long-term plan is to build an adjacent 500-seat theater for drama and dance productions, which would include an outdoor theater garden, a café with informal performance spaces and various "back-of-house" spaces, such as a costume shop.
"I am particularly excited that this new building has the potential to create a powerful architectural identity for the performing arts on campus, and, in so doing, to reinforce the university's commitment to the importance of creative endeavor," Olcott said. "The setting of this building alone will establish the centrality of the arts for the future."
The Performing Arts Center will be located between Campus Drive and Lasuen Street, north of Frost Amphitheater and across Palm Drive from the Cantor Arts Center.
The new performance spaces are an integral part of the Stanford Arts Initiative, a comprehensive plan to integrate creativity throughout the university.