The Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PACWTC) announced today that they have selected their design team. Local Brooklyn-based firm REX — which was founded by principal Joshua Prince-Ramus as the New York office of OMA — beat out Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects and Dutch firm UNStudio for the lead role on the project. In order to tackle the specific needs of a mixed-use performing arts space, REX will be partnering with Davis Brody Bond as executive architect and Charcoalblue as theater consultant.
The Lower Manhattan Development Company (LMDC) has committed $99 million to the project, which they plan to open in 2019. Private sources will need to be found to cover the full cost, which depends on the final design. Once complete, the 80,000-square-foot PACWTC will bring new cultural programming to the already bustling World Trade Center Site.
While REX's design for PACWTC has not yet been revealed, some of their earlier conceptual work may provide insight into their plans for the World Trade Center site. In 2002, The New York Times Magazine organized the Downtown Study Group to imagine alternatives to LMDC's plans at the time.
REX, which was still known as OMA NY at the time, set out to question typical skyscraper designs with uniform ceiling heights and floor plans. Inspired by the diverse programmatic elements that were creatively incorporated into the 1931 Downtown Athletic Club, REX's proposal took this iconic building and literally turned it upside down.
Their proposed massing sought to create vibrant public space at street level while offering more commercial square footage on the upper levels where the best views are found.
While the World Trade Center tower proposed in The New York Times Magazine was always theoretical, their reverence for the site and openness towards the street endure. PACWTC President/Director Maggie Boepple noted that they were impressed not only by Prince-Ramus' "innovative ideas about how to present cutting-edge culture, but also about how to make the PAC relate to everyone who comes to the WTC site – workers, residents, and visitors."
As more information becomes available, we will be sure to update our Database entry for this project. In the meantime, you can join the discussion in our dedicated Forum thread or in the comments below.