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LMN’s design for Seattle Symphony’s Benaroya Hall accommodates two superb performance halls in a complex that is thoroughly integrated into downtown Seattle. Occupying an entire block at the city’s core, the building celebrates the vital role of the arts to community life, while maintaining the continuity of commercial life and providing an inviting terraced and landscaped public space. The cylindrical volume of the lobby sets it apart from surrounding buildings, while the interior of subtly articulated windows offers outstanding views that encompass Puget Sound, the Seattle Art Museum, and the towers of Seattle’s skyline. At night, the entire height of the lobby’s surfaces of clear and frosted glass form a giant lantern that illuminates the streetscape. A block-long arcade offers access to the concert and recital hall lobbies, the ticket office, shops, cafes, an underground garage, and the transit tunnel adjacent to the site. Inside the rectangular concert hall, architecture and acoustical considerations are melded into a seamless aesthetic experience. Dark wood on the enclosing surfaces, with ivory tones on the inner layer of balcony fronts, ceiling panels, and the stage enclosure, give the room a feeling of intimacy, closely connecting each audience member to the stage. Superior sound quality is assured by the hall’s traditional shape, as well as the use of faceted and coffered wood and plaster surfaces to effectively disperse sound.

Benaroya Hall

Seattle, Washington

Winner of a 2001 national honor award, this new 2,500-seat concert hall was designed for the Seattle Symphony, and was completed in 1998.

Photography: ©

Client: Seattle Symphony

Size (sf): 200,000 s.f.; 2,500-seat concert hall, 540-seat recital hall, and 430-car underground parking facility.

Cost: $78,000,000

Completed: 1998

Awards: More than 13 design excellence awards, including a national honor award.

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