Arena Stage
Mead Center for American Theater
Washington, DC

[click image to advance]

The re-imagination and expansion of Arena Stage, originally designed by Harry Weese, included the renovation and spoken-word acoustic improvements of the signature 800-seat Fichandler Stage, in the round, and the 550-seat proscenium Kreeger Theater.  The rest of the existing 1960s complex was demolished, for lack of size suitability and theatrical function.  In the renewed scheme, an entirely new public space was developed, as well as all new back-of-house, support and rehearsal spaces that serve both the of existing theaters and the newly conceived Kogod Cradle Theatre -- an elliptical 250-seat studio theater space, for new dramatic works.  In order to allay noise intrusion from nearby National Airport, the parti for the new facility included a large pavilion-like enclosure that contained the [now] three theater objects, with the interstitial space serving as a public foyer.  Acoustic renovations for the Fichandler Stage included robust research and experimentation for maintaining speech clarity, when a significant part of the audience is always seated behind the speaking actor.  For the new Cradle Theater, significant full-scale testing, research and computer modeling were performed to develop a screen language for the walls that mitigates the negative focusing effects of the elliptical form.  Click HERE for additional images and videos.

Architect : Bing Thom Architects  [1999-2010]
Acoustic Design : The Talaske Group

[acoustic designer for all phases of design, research & testing, documentation, construction and commissioning] 

PHOTOS & IMAGES : I. Hoffman, N. Lehoux & Bing Thom Architects