New York's Lincoln Center scraps US$500m Heatherwick and Diamond Schmitt renovation

Plans by Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects to renovate a concert hall for New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts have been dropped.

The duo were awarded the US$500m (€427m, £383m) project in 2015 to significantly renovate the interiors of the centre’s largest hall – originally designed by Max Abramovitz and opened in 1962 – to create a 21st-century symphonic concert venue for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra “where the architecture is at one with music”.

However, in a statement released this week, the Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic said: “After a concentrated period of deep review and thoughtful evaluation, we have decided to re-envision the strategy that will steer the forthcoming renovations.”

They are planning a new, simpler masterplan “centred primarily on improving audience and artist experiences inside the hall” with phased renovations.

The early design team was thanked for its work, “which helped to reveal and clarify many complexities, both logistical and technical, in the project”. It was these complexities, it was suggested, that ultimately led to the change in approach.

“The goal of the project remains to create a welcoming and world-class concert hall which will include a reimagined hall configuration, with a focus on acoustics and enlivening the hall’s lobbies and other public spaces,” the statement said. “This re-envisioning has the major advantage of keeping the Philharmonic in its home without prolonged periods of displacement.”

Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects had been selected ahead of more than 100 other design teams following a two-year competition for the project. They themselves had replaced Foster + Partners, who were appointed to lead a renovation as far back as 2002.

The Lincoln Center said the complete details of the latest plan will be revealed at a future date.

In 2015, music and media executive David Geffen donated US$100m (€85m, £76m) to the project in a bid to accelerate the renovation – improving the halls oft-criticised acoustics and atmosphere. The venue is now named David Geffen Hall in his honour.

The decision to drop the design is the latest setback faced by Heatherwick Studio in recent months. The practice have seen the high-profile scrapping of their Garden Bridge project in London and Pier 55 public park in New York, while their involvement in the renovation of Fulham Football Club’s Craven Cottage stadium also recently came to an end.

However, in better news for the firm, their ambitious plans for Google’s London HQ have won planning approval; they have been commissioned to comprehensively revamp London’s historic Olympia exhibition centre; their public installation Vessel is nearing completion in New York’s Hudson Yards; and they have completed the acclaimed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town and a shape-shifting theatre in Shanghai.

New York  Lincoln Center  Heatherwick Studio  Diamond Schmitt Architects  David Geffen  New York Philharmonic Orchestra 
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Heatherwick Studio to lead US$500m redesign of New York concert hall

Plans by Heatherwick Studio and Diamond Schmitt Architects to renovate a concert hall for New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts have been dropped. The duo were awarded the US$500m (€427m, £383m) project in 2015 to significantly renovate the interiors of the centre’s largest hall – originally designed by Max Abramovitz and opened in 1962 – to create a 21st-century symphonic concert venue for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
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The David Geffen Hall is the Lincoln Center's largest venue and was originally designed by Max Abramovitz, opening in 1962 / Wiki Commons
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