The home of the New York Philharmonic has never been a beloved space. But now David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center is set to undergo a major renovation. It's one that officials hope will put it on the same level as some of the best concert halls in the world.
"It really will be a new hall," Deborah Borda, president & CEO of the New York Philharmonic, said at a press conference Monday. "It will really be transformed."
The $550 million project will improve acoustics that have long been considered lackluster, and move the stage forward 25 feet and surround it with audience seating.
The interior redesign will result in 500 fewer seats, but officials say it's a change that will push concertgoers closer to the action.
"That is going to transform the concert going experience for the audience," said Paul Scarbrough, who is designing acoustics. "No more will you feel like passive observers of the music, having it handed it down to you like in a classroom setting. Instead, you're going to feel as if you're an active, joyful participant in the music-making experience."
Outside the hall, a new welcome center will be created on Broadway, to better integrate the space with the community.
(A rendering of the exterior of the Lincoln Center at 65th and Broadway. Photo: Tod Williams Billie Tsien.)
In the lobby, a massive video wall will be installed, to live-stream concerts, so people who aren't inside can see and hear them.
"If you're a passerby and would like to stop in and would like to catch part of the concert, or if you can't afford a ticket, that's a way of connecting to the outside world," said architect Billie Tsien.
Talk of redesigning David Geffen Hall began years ago, but plans never took off due to logistical problems, even as the rest of Lincoln Center underwent a sweeping makeover nearly a decade ago.
Officials believe this blueprint is different.
"What's different this time is we have a really good design," Borda said. "It's a team of people who know what they're doing."
Construction is set to begin in 2022 and occur in phases.
The work is expected to be completed in 2024. During parts of the renovation, the philharmonic will play at other locations in the city, including Carnegie Hall.