This project is a collaborative effort between Maryann Thompson Architects, Harvard University and the American Repertory Theatre for a second performance venue for the acclaimed theater company. The program calls for a 300-seat black box theater space with an adjacent lobby and theater support offices to be completed within strict budgetary parameters in time for the venue's first performance in January 2005.
The design examines and amplifies the contrast between the theater interior, the lobby and the building's exterior. The black box theater, in which the most minimal of set and props are utilized, provides a simple environment in which the actor performs his craft. The lack of definition and adornment in the space cause it to recede into the background, prioritizing the actor and his performance. The darkness of the theater stands in contrast with the light space in the lobby. Here the audience takes priority through the emphasis on perspective and the creation of areas for conversation. The oversized doors at the lobby entrance redefine the building's perspective and comment on the absence of defined space within the theater interior. The lobby's interior finishes, which include cement floors and simple wall board, stand against the more traditional construction of the existing building, emphasizing the theater's objective as an experimental space.