The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Announces An Expansion Project To Be Designed By Steven Holl Architects

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — David M. Rubenstein, Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, today announced an expansion project to be constructed south of the existing facility. The project will include rehearsal space as well as dedicated classroom space and multipurpose rooms for the Center’s extensive arts education and arts management education programs. Public access spaces will include gardens, an outdoor video wall upon which simulcast performances and other multimedia events may be projected, and an outdoor performance space on the river. The expansion will be designed by Steven Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy of Steven Holl Architects.

“I am proud to announce the selection of acclaimed Steven Holl Architects for the Kennedy Center expansion project and look forward to working with one of the foremost architects of our time,” stated Mr. Rubenstein. “Steven’s wonderful concept will create a strong visual presence that bolsters the Center’s prominence as the national cultural center, while maintaining its unique presence among Washington’s iconic landmarks.”

Steven Holl Architects was unanimously selected by the Kennedy Center board of trustees to design the project. Mr. Holl remarked, “It is a great honor to design the extension to the Kennedy Center, a ‘Living Memorial.’ In that spirit ours is part of a vital architecture, providing much needed rehearsal space, and classrooms with natural light and ventilation.”

Mr. Holl’s initial concept for the project includes three connected pavilions that will house classrooms, rehearsal rooms, lecture space, multipurpose rooms, and limited office space. In the initial concept, one pavilion will float on the Potomac River and offer an outdoor stage. Public gardens will fill out the space, fusing the Kennedy Center with the landscape and river. The exteriors will utilize translucent Okalux, glass, and Carrara marble, the same Italian marble which clads the original facility. The silhouette of the current building will be preserved by connecting the new structure underground and via the main plaza. A formal design will be created and announced in the coming months.

Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser stated, “The Kennedy Center has the largest arts education program in the country without having any dedicated facilities to serve these growing programs. I’m so pleased the Kennedy Center will have spaces specifically designed for these functions to help fulfill our mission of bringing arts education to students across Washington and to millions of people across the country.”

The project is expected to cost approximately $100 million. Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein will donate $50 million toward the design and construction of the new building. This generous pledge is among the largest ever given to a federally-connected nonprofit organization. The design and construction costs for the expansion project will be paid for entirely with private funds.

“I am pleased to pledge these funds as the lead gift to the Kennedy Center expansion project and encourage others to donate to this project,” stated Mr. Rubenstein. “As the federal budget tightens, I hope more Americans will consider including nonprofit federal entities in their own philanthropy as well.” Mr. Rubenstein’s other philanthropic endeavors include major gifts to the National Archives, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian Institution.

With Mr. Rubenstein’s $50 million lead gift, the Center has begun a major fundraising campaign of $125 million: $50 million more for the expansion project and an additional $25 million for major programming initiatives in the years ahead.

Last June, a bill that authorized the Kennedy Center to construct an expansion project at the south end of the Kennedy Center grounds was unanimously approved by both houses of Congress and subsequently signed into law by President Obama. The bill stated that the costs of planning, design, engineering, and construction of the expansion project would be paid for using private funds. The Kennedy Center board formed a ten-member architect selection committee that was co-chaired by David M. Rubenstein and Fred Eychaner and included Jean Kennedy Smith and Victoria Reggie Kennedy, among other board members. The selection committee unanimously recommended Mr. Holl to the full board.

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