Art is man’s nature; nature is God’s art.
Phillip James Bailey
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 and lighting. And Broadway shows 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 first two phases of architectural design for the center established the location, orientation, and basic elements of the building.
The third architectural stage, Design Development, was completed in March 2009 and is the phase in which the personality of the center really began to emerge. The fundamental principles that guided the final design include:
Creating an iconic presence
More than just another new building, the center promises to enliven 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 lobbies with a “river of glass” overhead that draws visitors toward a central atrium. The exterior surfaces of the Concert Hall itself will be sheathed in five stories of illuminated, articulated 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 and CEO John Haynes, architect Norman Pfeiffer, and the Building Committee, chaired by Board Director Maxine Barnard, have developed a plan that melds the best aspects of traditional theatre design with the most visionary thinking on audience engagement and technology. The resulting design, which emerged from a unique charette process involving 11 performing arts professionals from across the country, includes a state-of-the-art, 2,000-seat Concert Hall and an intimate, 250-seat Cabaret. Tateuchi Center is designing a cultural venue with the ability to offer unusually diverse and sophisticated community experiences ranging from a black-tie night at the opera to Indian classical dance to an evening rendezvous with friends at a blues club.
Developing a truly versatile facility
A unique feature of the design is the care with which the building has been conceived as a multipurpose presenting facility. The ability to accommodate events of any size and complexity ensures a rich diversity of Tateuchi Center-presented performances, from string quartets to Broadway extravaganzas. The Concert Hall is scalable from as few as 400 seats to its full capacity of 2,000. The Cabaret will seat up to 200 on the main level and another 50 in the Donors Loge on the mezzanine level. (The Donors Loge will be reserved for the exclusive use of donors for pre-show and intermission hospitality during Tateuchi Center-presented performances in the Concert Hall.) The performance venues emphasize flawless sound quality, comfortable interiors, unobstructed sightlines, efficient and functional backstage spaces, a Mainstage spacious enough to accommodate virtually any production, a Cabaret with flexible staging and seating, and state-of-the-art technical controls. Every detail is planned to meet the exacting standards required of a world-class performing arts center. The multipurpose design will also enable area arts organizations to grow effortlessly into larger venues as their audiences expand. The flexibility of its 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.