The addition to the rooftop of the Eero Saarinen-designed Lincoln Center Theater building is the permanent home of LCT3, a programming initiative devoted to producing the work of emerging playwrights, directors, and designers. With 23,000 square feet of space and the 112-seat Claire Tow Theater, the new performance venue complements the scale of LCT?s existing venues and offers a practical way to present new ideas to smaller audiences.
After studying multiple options for locating a smaller third theater on the Lincoln Center Theater campus, the team concluded that the only suitable location was on the rooftop. Upon investigation into the building?s armature and giant 20-foot concrete Vierndeel trusses, H3 decided that the structure must play a major role in the design of the addition and directly inform the composition.
Respecting the rigorousness of Saarinen?s design, LCT3?s program is contained in a simple rectangular volume. The addition is perched on only six structural points, three on each side. Steel trusses, the longest 150 feet long, bridge from point to point to support the two-story volume. The diagonal bracing of the trusses becomes a visible and distinctive element of both the exterior and interior experience.
Visitors to all three theaters in the complex enter through the main building?s lobby. The elevators that bring visitors from plaza level to the Claire Tow Theater are encased in channel glass and fit precisely into the space of three concrete ceiling coffers of the existing building. When the elevators doors open at rooftop level, visitors are presented with a grand view of the outdoor terrace.
Anticipating a LEED-NC Silver rating, the building features efficient systems and sustainable strategies, including a green roof that covers 44% of the site footprint with eight types of native plants and low maintenance sedum. The plan organization ?wraps? the energy-intensive theater space with other program spaces, reducing heat gain and loss from the theater space and allowing other daily use spaces to have daylight and views.