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Central Park’s beloved Delacorte Theater will get its first major renovation since it was constructed over 50 years ago, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. The Public Theater announced it has tapped architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG to design a $110 million upgrade for the open-air theater, home to the free productions of Shakespeare in the Park. Kicking off in 2020, the project aims to reorganize the theater’s space, improve its resiliency, and make it overall more safe and efficient.
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While the Public Theater has made efforts to maintain the space over the years, including replacing the wooden stage every three to five years, the infrastructure remains outdated. Problems at the theater include its small workspaces, far away bathrooms, and steps that are not A.DA. accessible.
“It will be the largest project The Public Theater has ever undertaken,” Oskar Eustis, the organization’s artistic director, told the Times.
Eustis said that the group is looking into ways to extend the season into the spring and fall, working with climatologists to figure out how to make it pleasant during the colder months. The Theater chose BIG because of their portfolio of “environmentally sensitive work.” A design is expected to be released this spring.
“In hiring Bjarke, I knew we were ruling out nothing in terms of what would be technologically possible,” Eustis said.
Parties involved in the process include the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Central Park Conservancy. So far, the city has committed $9.8 million and the Public Theater has raised $10 million.
The group is still looking for ways to fund the rest of the project, including naming spaces in the theaters after donors. But the Delacorte will still be called the Delacorte when construction wraps up in 2022.
[Via NY Times]
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