Inside Alice Tully Hall with Renfro, Smith, Rosenbaum, and Gilmartin


(left) Alice Tully Hall; (right) New Building New York tour guides (l-r): Charles Renfro, AIA; Benjamin Gilmartin, AIA; Sylvia Smith, FAIA, LEED AP; Peter Rosenbaum, Assoc. AIA.

Charles Renfro, AIA, of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, and Sylvia Smith, FAIA, LEED AP, of FXFOWLE Architects, welcomed New Buildings New York tour goers to Lincoln Center’s newly renovated Alice Tully Hall on 07.29.10. Throughout the tour, the duo presented the concepts behind the renovation.

One of the main goals was to work with the existing structure. A large slice was removed from the façade on the southeast corner of the building and replaced with glass walls, creating what Renfro euphemistically called an “architectural striptease.” The result is a lobby connected to the city with natural light and street views. Renfro and Smith also discussed the Julliard School’s expansion, including a new dance studio with windows that look out onto Broadway, making it one of Julliard’s most popular studios.

As Benjamin Gilmartin, AIA, senior associate at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, explained, in contrast to the façade and lobby, which were designed with an eye toward the public, the interior was designed to create a heightened sense of intimacy. According to Peter Rosenbaum, Assoc. AIA, of Fisher Dachs Associates, the theater design firm that worked on Alice Tully Hall, this was achieved by quieting the noise from the old air-conditioning system and subway trains, as well as streamlining the look of the interior walls. Rounded walls are covered with a paper-thin wood veneer that is backlit by a series of LED lights to make the room “blush.” According to Renfro and Smith, all of the wood for the space came from one Moabi tree.

The Center for Architecture Foundation gives a special thanks to Renfro, Smith, Rosenbaum, and Gilmartin for leading the tour. The next New Buildings New York event is a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Houses in Pleasantville, NY, on 10.02.10 in conjunction with Architecture Week. For more information and to subscribe to the New Buildings New York mailing list, contact