David Geffen Hall Interior Center | Diamond Schmitt Architects

Viewed as a pivotal tool in helping New York City’s COVID recovery, the David Geffen Hall renovation plans were accelerated and will now reopen to the public two years ahead of schedule, in the fall of 2022. 

Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s chief executive, told the New York Times, “I think there’s going to be an explosion of pent-up audience demand. How many more Zoom concerts can we stream?”

The newly released renderings show an innovative “single-room” concept for the theater with audience seating surrounding the stage, like a black box theater. Yet, despite the surround-seating, the overall capacity will be reduced by 500 (to a total of 2,200 seats).

Other improvements include new public spaces, like a much larger lobby with a media streaming wall, more bathrooms, ADA access, a welcome center, and a sidewalk studio. There will also be a number of acoustic improvements, such as resurfaced walls to enhance acoustic performance, ceiling-mounted acoustic sheaths, as well as moving the stage 25 feet forward to help create a feeling of intimacy.

David Geffen Hall Orchestra Pit | Diamond Schmitt Architects

Additionally, to promote a healthy building post-pandemic, they are upgrading HVAC systems, filtration and air purifying systems, and antimicrobial technology integrated surfaces.

The accelerated renovation plan will relocate the Philharmonic between Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Rose Theatre. The construction will cost over $500 million and is expected to provide over 6,000 jobs, 3,000 directly related to construction.

Media Wall | Tod Williams Billie Tsien

The design team includes Diamond Schmitt Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, acoustic consultant Akustiks, and theater design studio Fisher Dachs Associates.

“The goal of accelerating this project is to invest in New York City at a time when we all have a part to play in its recovery,” said Katherine Farley, Chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in a press statement. "I want to pay tribute to the many people who have supported bringing this effort forward. In doing so, we are creating not just one of the world’s best cultural venues, but a space that welcomes our broader community.”