Friday, September 16, 2011

ARCH-ARQ: SAFDIE'S SHELLSCultural center breathes life into downtown Kansas City.

On September 16, the Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA), a 285,000-square-foot, $326 million complex that will be the home of the Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera, and Kansas City Ballet had its grand opening performance by world-renowned tenor Placido Domingo in the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre. On September 17, the opening festivities continued with violinist Itzhak Perlman in the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall.

Top-flight performers signal the ambitions for the project and for the city as a whole. Originally conceived as three separate halls for each performance ensemble, the project reverted to two spaces due to budgetary constraints. Nonetheless, the two large shells mark the important debut of the Symphony in Helzberg Hall and the Opera and Ballet in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. A cable stayed grand foyer and lobby enclosed by etched glass connect the Hall and Theatre with a grand terrace facing south towards the emerging Crossroads Arts District.


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