Since its opening in 1974, Orchestra Hall has played a vibrant role in the cultural and civic life of Minneapolis. The Renewal project continues this tradition by making a dynamic contribution to the transformation of the south downtown. The expansion of the lobby with a dramatic new glass addition engages the Hall with its urban context, particularly Peavey Plaza and Nicollet Mall. The transparency of the new architecture will showcase the activity of audiences and patrons within, infusing new energy into this civic neighborhood. By relocating the 11th Street driveway to the west, the streetscape will be revitalized as a tree-lined avenue with a generously-scaled sidewalk connecting Marquette Avenue to Nicollet Mall, and Orchestra Hall to the urban fabric, reinforcing the international profile of Minneapolis as a walkable city and a welcoming destination.
The Glass Box Lobby
KPMB’s design expands the original glass box lobby outwards, to the north and to the west. Floor to ceiling glass walls invite patrons to enjoy views of 11th Street. A soaring picture window on the first two levels will illuminate the Minneapolis skyline at night. Wood frames will add warmth, and complement the warm tones of the distinctive brick exterior that wraps the original auditorium. Every level will have generous walkways, built-in benches, drink rails and views to enhance the patron experience. “The expanded lobby will feel more inclusive and like one broad inter-connected space,” says architect Marianne McKenna, “we’ve clarified the circulation, doubled the average square footage for each patron, and improved access to amenities to offer a dramatically revitalized gathering venue in the heart of downtown.”
The image of transparency will be matched with a feeling of openness and ease of access and movement through the space. A newly-installed escalator will lead patrons directly from the skyway entrance, the Hall’s most popular entrance, to the main level. A series of new staircases and elevators will be both more visible and accessible. Bars and restrooms will be provided on every level.
The City Room
The expansion of the lobby to the west culminates in the City Room. This festive new space features south and west views and will receive an abundance of natural light throughout the day, and offer spectacular sunset views at dusk. With high ceilings and ample glass windows, the City Room is a space for all seasons. During colder seasons, a large fireplace will radiate warmth and create a more intimate setting. During warmer seasons, floor to ceiling sliding doors will open to a generous open air terrace to transform the City Room into an indoor/outdoor space for gathering. The City Room will give the city a new multi-purpose venue. With seating for 200 at pre-and post-concert gatherings, it is designed to be completely flexible to accommodate a range of catered receptions, dinners, and performances.
A New Urban Image for Orchestra Hall
KPMB’s design juxtaposes a light, transparent ‘wrapper’ against the Hall’s distinctive brick shoebox auditorium. The concept boldly asserts the Hall’s presence at the corner of the Nicollet Mall and 11th Street. Inside, the uninterrupted glazed walls acquire the City as a backdrop to the activity within. The contemporary geometry of the new additions onto the 11th Street and Peavey Plaza sides of the building establish a subtle allusion to the iconic form of the original auditorium.
For the first time in its history, Orchestra Hall will have a primary entrance. Situated on the building’s west side, it is marked by a wide canopy and will give the Hall a bolder, more welcoming image. A secondary entrance on Marquette will welcome patrons arriving via public and disabled transit. Along the southwest, patrons will have access to the outdoors via two new terraces; one at ground-level extending to the west off the City Room, and another rooftop terrace, accessible from the Tier Drop level of the lobby.
“In renovating Orchestra Hall, we made it a priority to preserve the iconic elements of the original 1974 design,” says architect Bruce Kuwabara, “while also re-envisioning aspects of the building to better fit its current city and context. This project offers a remarkable opportunity to renew a great venue and revitalize the relationship of Orchestra Hall to the city of Minneapolis.”
1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN
$38.6 million USD
Minnesota Orchestral Association
21,528 sq.ft. expansion of lobby and public spaces and 9,688 sq.ft. renovation of administrative offices
Marianne McKenna (partner-in-charge), Chris Couse (principal), Bob Sims (senior associate), Bruce Kuwabara (partner), Meika McCunn (associate), Dave Smythe (associate), Sanaz Shirshekar, Ramon Janer, Janice Wong, Farhan Durrani, Razvan Ghilic Micu, Sharareh Borzabadi Farahani, Carolyn Lee, Sheida Shahi, Danielle Sucher, Olena Chorny (student), Katerina Mityuryayeva (student)
Meyer, Borgman and Johnson Inc. (structural), Dunham Engineering (mechanical, electrical), Sound Spacee Design (acoustics), Schuler Shook (lighting), Westwood Professional Services (surveyor), Summit Fire Protection (building code)
Nelson Tietz & Hoye
Watch the Timelapse Video of the Construction of Orchestra Hall Renewal
November 27, 2013
A new look for Orchestra Hall
April 10, 2010
Designs Unveiled for Minnesota Orchestra Hall
April 09, 2010