Perelman Performing Arts Center

The Perelman Performing Arts Center Opens as “One of the Most Complicated Construction Projects in Modern History

We are incredibly proud to have been part of this landmark project at the World Trade Center, having partnered with the Perelman Performing Arts Center organization to take the artistic vision for the project and develop a strategy to lead its execution.

The creation of a performing arts center was key to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s World Trade Center Master Plan (2003) to redevelop the site with a cultural anchor. Our effort began by taking the organization’s vision for the performing arts center and then crafting an international design competition that eventually selected Joshua Ramus of REX. With REX on board, including its initial concept of the translucent marble building, we worked collectively to onboard the full project team and then proceed through design and construction.

Architecturally, the building had the challenge of being respectful to the site while meeting the ambitious aspirations of the theater’s capabilities. To achieve this REX conceived of a design that uses nearly 5,000 translucent stone glass panels, that create a deferential and distinctive white cube during the day that transforms and captivates its audience at night.

The idea of a glowing, self-contained cube seemed to honor the idea that rejuvenation could happen from within and radiate outward, and issue some kind of diffuse but powerful healing to the city.
Joshua Ramus
Founding Principal

The finished PAC NYC reveals itself as a highly considered and complex series of three flexible performance spaces; the 450-seat John E. Zuccotti Theater, the 250-seat Mike Nichols Theater, and the 99-seat Doris Duke Theater. Together, these three performance spaces and their possible combinations result in limitless possibilities for artists to explore, each paired with state-of-the-art production infrastructure and technology designed by Charcoalblue.

In partnership with PAC NYC leadership, we managed every aspect of what former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg described as “one of the most complicated construction projects in modern history” and which the NYTimes has recognized as, “a spectacular work of public architecture.” Realization of the project involved constant coordination between all the entities involved in approving and overseeing the project – the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, all stakeholders on the site, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and major private supporters of the project to address the many technical complexities of the project site. The elegance of REX’s design also negotiates the complexities below the building, including NYC Transit and PATH trains running adjacent to the building’s foundations, a large ventilation system serving the site’s infrastructure, and an emergency egress vehicular passageway that the building structure had to be threaded around.

Projects like this happen through the passion of many individuals and strong collaboration. We want to thank everyone who was involved in making this a great success over the many years of its planning, design, and construction.

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Emily Puhnaty, Director of Business Development & Communications