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In Manhattan, a Translucent Marble Cube Designed by Rex Houses the Perelman Performing Arts Center

Iwan Baan

Located next to One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, REX‘s Perelman Performing Arts Center appears as a cubic structure clad in translucent marble.

REX designed the façade, in collaboration with façade consultant Front, out of 1/2” (12 mm) translucent marble slabs sandwiched between glass and integrated into insulated glass units. Through a process called “book matching,” REX composed the panels so that the marble veining forms a biaxially symmetric pattern, which repeats on all four sides of the building.

Perelman Performing Arts Center, NYC, USA / REX Architecture

During the day, sunlight passes through the façade, imparting the amber glow of the marble onto the interior. At night, this amber glow is reversed as the façade is lit from within. Polished aluminum LED pendants light the perimeter walkways from top to bottom, illuminating the building’s exterior from within while providing house lighting for theatergoers. REX and the lighting design consultant Tillotson Design Associates collaborated on the building’s illumination.

REX collaborated with Charcoalblue to design PAC NYC’s performance spaces. Four massive vertically sliding “guillotine” walls can be raised or lowered to separate or combine the performance spaces while maintaining acoustical separation. Configurations of seating and stage areas within each theater can be changed using a combination of mechanical and manual systems. Movable seating towers in the Zuccotti Theater enable a range of stage formats from Courtyard and Horseshoe to Theater-In-the-Round and Thrust arrangements.

Perelman Performing Arts Center, NYC, USA / REX Architecture

The Nichols Theater’s fully removable catwalks and demountable audience balcony allow this venue to flex from a stand-alone performance space, to a stage and backstage area for PAC NYC’s largest formats. Room acoustics, designed by REX in collaboration with acousticians Threshold Acoustics, are designed to create a boundaryless, diffuse “forest clearing” experience where specific acoustic signatures can be created in alignment with the performance configuration.

Perelman Performing Arts Center, NYC, USA / REX Architecture

Rockwell Group was engaged to design the interiors of PAC NYC’s lobby, restaurant, lounge, bar, and outdoor terrace. Rockwell Group’s design was driven by the idea of creating a warm and welcoming arrival experience for guests, giving a hint of the experiences to come from the street level. Because the building is an elevated, monolithic form, a dynamic, glowing lobby ceiling can be seen from the street, like signage; the interior becomes invitation, architecture, wayfinding, and lighting in one.

Perelman Performing Arts Center, NYC, USA / REX Architecture

The built-in stage in the southern end of the lobby offers an area for casual performances throughout the day, including seating that varies in height and two custom, modular sofas that frame the space in the rear and shield from the central pathway. When the stage is not hosting performances, it transitions into additional lounge seating. The welcoming restaurant, helmed by chef Marcus Samuelsson, is adjacent to the lobby. Transparent glass at the restaurant’s northern wall gives glimpses of the outdoor terrace.