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Signature Center in New York Complete; Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided consulting services

Signature Center in New York Complete; Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided consulting services

NEW YORK, NY – Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, theater design consultants of Signature Center, a new performing arts venue, which will be the permanent home of Signature Theatre Company, has completed its work on the center, comprising three intimate theaters, a studio theater, rehearsal studio, public café and bookstore. A performing arts/media facilities planning and design firm that provides the link between the end user of the facility and the designing architect, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander worked in collaboration with Signature Theatre Company, Gehry Partners, LLP and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture (architect of record) to provide theater consulting and audio video systems design for Signature Center. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander consulted on space programming including the development of the required functional spaces, their area, adjacency and design criteria; developed the conceptual layouts for each theater, including audience seating sightlines, audience, performer and technical staff circulation; provided theatrical systems design including the complete detail design of theatrical lighting controls, fly space and rigging, audio, video and communication systems; and managed construction administration including the review of all contractor drawings and proposals for the theatrical systems and coordinated these with other trades. The firm also specified equipment and controls for the digital signage and media system developed for Signature Theatre by POP!Multimedia. The new Signature Center will open in January 2012 and Signature Theatre will present its first performance in the new facility on January 31, 2012.

Signature CenterAuerbach Pollock Friedlander began working with Signature Theatre and Gehry Partners, LLP on the programming and schematic design for a new home for the Signature Theatre Company in 2004 that would fulfill Founding Artistic Director James Houghton's vision of a three-theatre center, supporting the company's desire to expand its series of programs focusing on the core mission of celebrating the role of the playwright. During this time, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander consulted on modifications to initial programming studies, reviewed several site options and provided the initial concept plans for the current facility – a 70,000 square foot cultural amenity designed by Gehry Partners LLP, and located within a 59-story high rise hotel and residential tower designed by Arquitectonica and developed by the Related Companies (developer for Time Warner Building with Jazz at Lincoln Center). Covering an entire city block, the new Signature Center's three performance venues include the End Stage, a 299-seat theatre; the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre, a 199-seat flexible theatre; and the 199-seat Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. The performance spaces are situated around a central lobby with a café and bookstore. The project also includes a 99-seat performance/rehearsal space and a second rehearsal studio as well as Signature Theatre's administrative offices.

“Designing the performance spaces and coordinating the program areas with the already existing base building structure, vertical transport, stair cores and allowable floor area was quite challenging,” reflected Principal in Charge, Steven Friedlander. ”The coordinated efforts of the team resulted in the development of three distinctive theatre spaces around the already existing structural columns and shear walls.”

Signature Center“The new Signature Center has theatre systems that are not typically found in Off-Broadway performance venues such as a facility-wide communications and advanced stage rigging technology,” said Project Manager, Don Guyton. “In all cases, the team looked to find the best systems solutions and the result is superior functionality and flexibility for each of the three, very different, performance spaces.”

“As we open our doors at Signature Center, we realize our long-term vision of building a truly vibrant cultural destination that honors, supports, and celebrates playwrights at all stages of their careers,” noted Signature Theatre Founding Artistic Director James Houghton. “We are delighted to partner with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander in this tremendous effort, and are extraordinarily grateful for the support of our entire design team.”


End Stage Theatre

The design of the new End Stage Theatre's raked seating area was influenced by the Peter Norton Space where the company performed for 14 years. The equal ratio of stage area to seating area is based on that original space.

The venue opens directly from the lobby through a single large doorway that allows the audience member to appreciate the auditorium and the stage prior to entering the room. There are also more traditional light and sound lock vestibules as entrances at the rear of the seating area. The audience area is enveloped in wooden panels giving it a feeling of intimacy and warmth.

The 299-seat End Stage Theatre is the largest space at the Signature Center. The 59' wide x 38' deep stage area is one of the largest of any Off-Broadway theatre. There is a fixed pipe grid over the first 20' of the downstage area and full fly tower over the remaining 18' of upstage area. The proscenium is both adjustable (45' wide x 20' high to 37' wide x 17' high) and removable. With it removed the theatre becomes an open performance space.

The space offers a full complement of theatrical systems operated from an expansive control room suite. The equipment includes:

• 426 dimmed/switched lighting circuits; 362 of these can be split and operated separately via “Dimmer Doubling” to allow a total of 766 circuits.

• A 4,000 channel lighting control console

• 3,300 square feet pipe grid

• 14 - 2,000 lbs capacity motorized variable speed battens

• Meyer Sound loudspeaker system with surround sound

• 48 channel Allen & Heath digital mixing system

Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

The flexible Romulus Linney venue's main floor is comprised of a modular platform system that allows the room to be completely reconfigured to meet the needs of each production. The room can be arranged into three primary configurations:

• 42' wide x 30' deep end stage with 199-seats

• 30' wide x 18' deep alley stage with 244-seats

• 30' wide x 24' deep thrust stage with 236-seats

There is an upper level gallery that surrounds the room providing another perspective for audience members. If the space is set into the end stage configuration then that stepped seating will meet the gallery at the back of the seating area thereby allowing the audience to enter the entire space from either the upper gallery or the lower level.

The Linney Theatre opens to the main lobby at both levels, offering a large double door entry for the audience from a dedicated foyer.

• 340 dimmed/switched lighting circuits

• 2048 channel lighting control console

• 1,900 square feet pipe grid overhead for lighting and stage scenery

• Meyer Sound loudspeaker system

• 32 channel Allen & Heath digital mixing system

Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

The most unique space in the building, the 199-seat Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre is designed in the style of a traditional grand opera house with a proscenium stage and a single balcony with side box seating. The room is exceptionally intimate with the farthest seat less than 40' from the stage. Sightlines from each seat provide unobstructed views of the 45' wide x 25' deep stage. Gehry Partners designed unique side wall wooden panels that also hide theatrical lighting positions from the view of the audience.

The stage is equipped has a full 50' fly tower with 18 - 2,000 lb. capacity motorized winches with variable speed control.

• 350 dimmed/switched lighting circuits

• 2048 channel lighting control console

• Meyer Sound loudspeaker system

• 32 channel Allen & Heath digital mixing system

Studio 1, 1,632 square feet, is used as a rehearsal hall and movement studio. It has mirrors on two of the walls that can be covered, when necessary with tracking velour drapes.

• Walk-draw drapery track with 21 oz velour masking

Studios 1 and 2

Studio 2, 1,632 square feet, can be used as a rehearsal space, movement studio (with two mirrored walls) and a performance venue. It is equipped with a complete stage lighting system.

• 28 – 2.4 KW dimmers

• 1 – 100 amp 3 phase company switch

• Walk-draw drapery track with 21 oz velour masking

Audio-Video Systems

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander designed the sound reinforcement and playback systems within each performance space, as well as the facility-wide video and production communication systems within the Signature Center.

• Primary front-of-house sound reinforcement and effects playback is controlled by an Allen + Heath iLive digital mixing and signal processing system. The system controls 32 to 48 source inputs into 16 to 32 outputs. Control surfaces are utilized for live mixing and routing control of microphones and multi-track audio effects inputs.

• Meyer Sound loudspeaker systems have been deployed throughout each performance space. Each theatre provides fixed multi-channel surround sound loudspeakers, as well main left-right loudspeaker clusters at the proscenium. Loudspeakers within the Courtyard Theatre are provided as portable equipment, including subwoofer loudspeakers, so that they can be used as needed.

• An FM assisted-listening system for the hearing impaired is provided throughout each performance space.

• Riedel digital production communication systems include digital matrix intercom system, and wireless intercom channels. Digital control stations allow for party-line communications, as well as point-to-point station communication.

• Riedel digital communication panels, located within each stage manager station, allow for stage and house announcement capabilities, and back of house paging to dressing rooms, shops, offices and lounges.

• Backstage program monitoring and paging feeds from each performance space are selectable within each dressing room, shop and office. This allows production staff and performers to monitor audio within each theatre and provides flexibility for the assignment of dressing room.

• House manager panels located within each theatre lobby allow for audience recall chime control, and communication with stage managers during performances.

• Each theatre is provided with a fixed stage view camera feeding latecomer video displays in the lobbies. Video cameras are also routed through a QAM modulated video system for monitoring the backstage areas.

• Stage manager stations are also provided with local video displays to allow for visual monitoring of fixed view, and infrared cameras. Other cameras may be deployed as required for various production needs.

• A 12-channel low-voltage cue light system is deployed within each theatre, allowing visual cueing between stage managers and technicians.

• Digital signage displays are located throughout the lobbies and building exterior entry.

• A fiber optic and CAT-6 backbone provides interconnectivity for current systems and future expansion.

• Over 100 device panels and wall plates are fed from an extensive analog and digital wiring infrastructure using both copper and fiber-optic cabling.

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