Broadway Producer Gives $10 Million Gift to Carnegie Hall for Studio Towers Renovation
In May 2007, Carnegie Hall announced its plans to undertake extensive renovations of its two Studio Towers-the South Tower added by Andrew Carnegie in 1894, which rises 12 stories from street level on West 56th Street and stretches across the roofline of the 1891 concert venue; and the 16-story North Tower added in 1897 on top of the northeast corner of the building, facing West 57th Street.
The completion of the new Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Education Wing, spread across the upper floors of Carnegie Hall's North and South Towers, will add twenty-four new music rooms to the landmark building, enabling many music education activities now taking place off-site in inadequate spaces to be brought into spaces designed especially for these activities, connecting program participants with the inspirational setting of Carnegie Hall. These new practice rooms, teaching studios, and ensemble rooms will be vital resources for Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute (WMI), which offers a wide range of music education and community programs for people from all walks of life, and also for The Academy-a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and WMI in partnership with New York City's Department of Education-a prestigious two-year fellowship designed to prepare talented young professional musicians for careers that combine musical excellence with teaching, community engagement, advocacy, and leadership.
The music rooms will be used for a variety of educational activities including interactive events for children; rehearsals by students participating in Carnegie Hall creative learning projects and by fellows of The Academy; master classes and workshops for young musicians; and professional development activities for educators, teaching artists, and Carnegie Hall musicians who serve audiences in schools and community venues throughout New York City. Overall, they will be inspirational and vibrant spaces where people will have the opportunity to meet, learn, explore, and share musical experiences.
Located within the Resnick Education Wing, Carnegie Hall's Archives will be upgraded with state-of-the-art high density storage. A new reading and listening room for visitors will increase access to Carnegie Hall's historic collections. Adjacent to the Wing will be a new outdoor Roof Terrace-a feature first envisioned in 1892 by the building's original architect, William Burnet Tuthill, now re-imagined for the twenty-first century-a gathering place for users of the building: performers and concertgoers; families, teachers, students, and staff.
The Studio Towers Renovation Project will also allow Carnegie Hall to fully refurbish its backstage areas (located largely within its South Tower), upgrading artistic support spaces and ensuring that the venue continues to serve New York City as the top international destination for the world's greatest performers and ensembles with amenities that match the world-class quality of the artistic environment on stage.
The backstage area will be doubled from three to six floors and modernized in line with the wide variety of performances undertaken at Carnegie Hall. Three new backstage rooms will be added, including an Artists' Lounge at the stage level of Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage and a Green Room on the second floor. Access to the Stern / Perelman stage-left entrance will be restored, greatly enhancing production capabilities. In addition, the location of artists' dressing rooms will be consolidated, including increased access for those with disabilities. Fewer stairs in the new backstage design will make it easier for musicians to navigate off stage, especially with large instruments.
Through these renovations, many elements of Carnegie Hall's 122-year-old building infrastructure will be upgraded to contemporary standards for safety and accessibility. Administrative offices will be consolidated for greater efficiency, and the building will become more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, upon project completion, achieving LEED Silver certification and compliance with the NYC Green Buildings Law. Thanks to Carnegie Hall's original 450 windows on the upper floors, natural light will be maximized in the building's design. New environmental control systems and plumbing as well as special features unique to the Roof Terrace (such as plantings and reflective pavers) will help reduce energy needs. In addition, key elements of the building's exterior and interior will be restored. Among the elements of the plans, signature architectural features-cast-iron stairs, original steel trusses, vaulted ceilings, window casings, fireplace mantles, and more-will be preserved or replicated throughout the renovated facility.
Construction work on the Studio Towers Renovation Project began in 2009, and has taken place over multiple years, coordinated with Carnegie Hall's performance and rehearsal schedules. Carnegie Hall's three auditoriums will not be touched by the renovations. Iu + Bibliowicz Architects LLP is architect for the project. Tishman Construction Corporation is Carnegie Hall's construction manager.