Latitude/Longitude: 39.0712, -94.5899
Three performance spaces – a proscenium theater, a concert hall, and a banquet hal-are placed along the ridgeline of the site, facing south. A glazed foyer serves the two major halls; a smaller foyer is attached to the banquet hall. Patrons proceed to a lower lobby, which opens to the view south and the terraced gardens, and then enter by grand staircase or elevator to the main lobby. The enveloping structure of the complex is a series of undulating, vertical segments of a circle forming the northern container of the theater’s stage, concert hall, and experimental theater. As these elements ascend, they create a segmented, gently curving crown to the building. From this crest, the roof descends in a curve following the toroidal geometry of light cables, metal, and glass toward the south.
The roof intersects with an outwardly inclined and curved glass wall, which contains the foyer with a southern view. The tensile forces of the suspended glass foyer roof are counteracted by a series of cables tying down the structure to anchors at the entrance terrace. The curved, segmented northern walls are sheathed in silvery stainless steel and punctuated by acid-etched, limestone-colored, precast concrete perpendicular walls. The roof is stainless steel over the performing halls, changing to glass over the foyers. The glass enclosure opens the foyer to dramatic views of the sky and skyline. At night, seen from the exterior, the glazing disappears and reveals the dramatically lit theater facades and activity within the public areas. The theater facades are clad in veneer plaster forming continuous curved, stacked balconies. The lobby bars form sculptural shapes visible under the glass structure.
Client: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Cost: $304 million
Collaborators: Associate Architect: BNIM Architects
⇒ Architecture Guide to KANSAS-MISSOURI