Architects reveal design for US$250m World Trade Center arts venue

The building for The Perelman will be flexible and elegant and provide the most dynamic possible artistic experience, while also staying true to the needs and desires of the neighbourhood and the city
– Joshua Prince-Ramus

Designs have been unveiled for the final piece of Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center masterplan, with the US$250m (€222m, £188m) Perelman Performing Arts Center labelled as the development’s “keystone”.

The translucent marble cube is a far cry from Frank Gehry’s stacked box concept – a US$400m (€355m, £300.5m) design that was officially dropped after more than a decade of development, with the architect declaring "I don't want to go where I'm not wanted".

Designed by Rex Architecture, the arts venue will be built north of the 9/11 memorial – two reflecting pools which fill the footprints of the former World Trade Centers, remembering those who died during the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

According to Rex co-founder and project lead architect Joshua Prince-Ramus, the 90,000sq ft (8,400sq m) venue – which will include three auditoriums and a rehearsal room – will be wrapped in a translucent marble laminated by insulated glass. During the day the building will resemble a large “mystery box” with a dull sheen. At night the building will take on the form of a glowing cube, similar to that of a Chinese paper lantern.

At the bottom of the monolith structure, a slice is cut away to form the building’s entrance, leading up to a lobby, restaurant and bar. To accommodate flexibility for artistic directors, the building’s rooms and halls will feature moveable walls to create up to 11 different configurations, with the largest configuration having a capacity of up to 1,200 people.

“The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center will be a new kind of arts space for the next generation of audiences and artists, redefining downtown Manhattan as a prime cultural and social destination,” said a statement.

“Offering the latest space and technological opportunities for creating work unlike anywhere else in New York City, The Perelman Center will be a one-of-a-kind home for dance, theater, contemporary chamber opera, music and a venue for the Tribeca Film Festival.

"The building for The Perelman will be flexible and elegant and provide the most dynamic possible artistic experience, while also staying true to the needs and desires of the neighbourhood and the city.

"It will meet the demands and challenges of the performing arts of the 21st century like no place elsewhere."

Singer and actress Barbra Streisand will act as board chair for the centre, which will be dedicated to new works. A board statement said the building would aim to “commemorate the 9/11 tragedy and reflect the vitality of the city”. The centre has been named after billionaire philanthropist Ronald Perelman, who donated US$75m (€66.5m, £53m) towards the development. A further US$75m in public donations is still being sought before the project opens its doors in early 2020.

The final piece in the puzzle for Libeskind’s 2003 masterplan for the World Trade Center site, the centre will join SOM’s One World Trade Center, Fumihiko Maki's Four World Trade Center tower and Snøhetta’s 9/11 memorial museum.

World Trade Center  9/11  Daniel Libeskind  SOM  Rex Architects  Barbra Streisand  Perelman Performing Arts Center  Frank Gehry  Joshua Prince-Ramus 
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Designs have been unveiled for the final piece of Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center masterplan, with the US$250m (€222m, £188m) Perelman Performing Arts Center labelled as the development’s “keystone”. The translucent marble cube is a far cry from Frank Gehry’s stacked box concept – a US$400m (€355m, £300.5m) design that was officially dropped after more than a decade of development, with the architect declaring "I don't want to go where
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Designed by Rex Architecture, the arts venue will be built north of the 9/11 memorial / Render by Luxigon
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