The Perelman Center for the Performing Arts at the World Trade Center

, World Trade Center Performing Arts Center Inc

New York, NY


A performing arts center was a key component of the master plan to rebuild the World Trade Center site following the attacks on September 11, 2001. Located adjacent to the new Transit Hub, The Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center will create approximately 135,000 sf of space for theater, dance, music, film, and opera in Lower Manhattan. The Perelman Center will further animate Lower Manhattan and become an anchor for the arts community.

The exterior form of The Perelman Center (TPC) is an internally illuminated cube, supported on a stone base. Its simple massing is a counterpoint to the diverse forms of the site’s redevelopment, as the building occupies a prominent location, bordering the Memorial Plaza and 1 World Trade Center (Freedom Tower). TPC is designed to be highly adaptable, capable of being reconfigured into multiple theaters of different scales. These range in layout and capacity from a 99-seat intimate theater, to a 472-seat theater in-the-round, and a raked 737-seat, 2-balcony, end thrust theater. These transformations utilize a trap equipped with removable platforms and seating lifts, four movable seating towers, vertically-retractable guillotine doors and demountable balconies. When all the theatres are combined into one large venue, the Perelman Center can accommodate up to 1,200 people.

Supporting the theaters, TPC has a rehearsal room that epitomizes the flexibility inherent to the facility. It is truly a multi-purpose space; outfitted to function as a performance space, acoustically separated to function as a fourth venue, and located to function as a social gathering/food & beverage space for performance intermissions. The rehearsal room allows TPC’s patrons to truly see behind the curtain at the inner workings of a modern performing arts center. The lobby has been developed to be open and welcoming. It is spatially organized around a prominent stage platform, provided to encourage spontaneous, impromptu performances by patrons and the community. The Perelman Center is a technically-sophisticated and highly transformable facility. Challenges of this project included the need for movable primary building system components, acoustic and vibration isolation, highly prescriptive protective design and life safety requirements, and the accommodation of third-party MEP systems. Davis Brody Bond, a Page Company actively led the process to find solutions to these challenges with the Owner, Theater Consultants, and the Port Authority of NY and NJ which has regulatory control of the site.

Executive Architect with REX
Photography by Iwan Baan

Building Facts

  • 127,000 SF