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789 Tenth Avenue New York, NY


The 52nd Street Project

The 52nd Street Project is a non-profit children’s theater program in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. Funded in part by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Design and Construction, the 17,000 square foot headquarters is the first permanent performance space and new home for the Project. The interior build-out on two floors is part of a larger mixed-use development (for which FXFOWLE served as the base building architect), and includes a 3,200 square foot/156-person theater, teaching/tutoring spaces, a food preparation and dining area, administrative offices, dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, and a prop shop.

The architecture is intended to have a raw work-in-progress edge, yet be understood as ready for prime time. Some elements are meant to seem improvisational, as if found objects have been pressed into service. A recurring collage wall of historic poster images from past 52nd Street events evokes both street art and theater bills, serving as an orientating, visually connective device with a decorative character. Features such as a high-performance mechanical and HVAC system design, selection of materials and finishes with high recycled content and low VOC emissions, and programming for flexible uses helped the project achieve a LEED Gold certification. (The project was just 1 point shy of achieving LEED Platinum).


US Institute of Theater Technology (USITT), Honor Award for Architecture, 2011


“Hall of Fame: The 52nd Street Project,” Vanity Fair, March 2009

Photos by Vanni Archive