We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
George Bernard Shaw
Building Tateuchi Center
The ability of any performing arts center to excel in its mission is rooted in an organic connection between its programmatic vision and its architecture. A great cultural facility requires a unique personality and a functional design that enables this vision. A great orchestra needs great acoustics. A great dance company requires the right combination of stage floor, space, and lighting. And big musicals need it all: lights, sound, and a lot of space above, below, behind, and to the side of the stage, with enough power to light up Cincinnati.
The fundamental principles that guided our design team include:
Creating an iconic presence
More than just another new building, the center promises to invigorate the fabric of the city, creating a great community gathering-place with an iconic presence. Its asymmetrical interplay of volumes and surfaces distinguishes it immediately from the more regular facades of the surrounding architecture. It announces its cultural purpose with alternating “curtains” of glass and stone that mimic the stage and curtains within. The interior features warm, inviting public spaces. Carpets and fabrics were inspired by the streams and woodlands woven through the landscape of the Eastside. A “river of glass” overhead draws visitors toward a central atrium. The exterior surfaces of the Concert Hall itself will be sheathed in five stories of illuminated copper glass, creating a glittering visual drama for patrons and passersby alike.
Designing with the future in mind
Using groundbreaking new research on changing patterns of cultural engagement, especially among younger audiences, Executive Director John Haynes, architects Norman Pfeiffer and Bill Murray, and the Building Committee, chaired by Board Director Maxine Barnard, developed a plan to meld the best aspects of traditional theatre design with the most visionary thinking about audience engagement and technology. Important aspects of the design emerged from a unique charrette process that engaged eleven under-35 arts leaders from across the country, selected to give voice to the changing cultural habits, lifestyles, and ideas of the generations that will soon become the core audience of America’s arts organizations.
Developing a truly versatile facility
A unique feature of the design is the care with which the Center has been conceived as a multipurpose presenting facility. The ability to accommodate events of almost any size and complexity ensures a rich diversity of Tateuchi Center-presented performances, from string quartets to ballet to musical extravaganzas. The Concert Hall is scalable from as few as 500 seats to its full capacity of 2,000, and the stage itself is deep, wide, and fully outfitted with theatrical equipment. The Studio Theatre can seat 225 in a classic “black box” flexible setting. Both venues emphasize flawless sound quality, comfortable interiors, unobstructed sightlines, efficient and functional backstage spaces, and state-of-the-art stage technology. Every detail has been planned to meet the exacting standards required of a world-class performing arts center. The multipurpose design will also enable local and regional arts organizations to grow effortlessly into larger venues as their audiences expand. The flexibility of our venues will also permit the center to serve as an outstanding resource for civic and community uses such as education programs, lectures, receptions, corporate meetings, and conferences.