Snug Harbor Cultural Center: Music Hall Addition || Studio Joseph || Architect of the Year Awards 2020

Studio Joseph : Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2020. The Music Hall is a cornerstone of Snug Harbor Cultural Center’s programming – providing performances of distinction. The lack of compliant backstage areas, loading dock, ADA circulation to the stage from the audience and public assembly filing amongst other practical issues has limited program opportunity and operation efficiency. This Addition will permit further commitment to high quality theater and equality of access.

Located amongst historic buildings on campus, the Addition is considered both in contrast to and sympathetic with the Greek Revival Hall, which is much grander in scale and monumental in its conception.  In massing and materiality, is imbued with strong sense of gravitas. Using white concrete and a boldly reductive steel curtain, the modernist vocabulary allows for the two to coexist. Deep overhangs on the north and south sides strategically echo the Hall’s porch entry with a distinctive presence, shelter for sun and rain. 

The high level of transparency brings natural light to back of house spaces enhancing transparency and enhancing the experience for performers. Interior planning is pragmatically conceived and highly efficient. Ductwork and lighting are exposed for tectonic informality that works with the feeling of the programmed spaces. Vertically ribbed stainless steel panels line circulation responding to need for durability while reflecting light and views into the interior.

Fenestration is with low E glass with a random frit pattern. The pattern is densest at top and bottom and open at eye level screening for heat gain while allowing views. The curtain wall is a white aluminum system with tapered fins on all sides, serving as both sunscreen and to give greater visual depth to the façade.

The site planning is carefully aligned so that two entrances (public and stage) align strategically on axis with the nearby iconic Neptune Fountain. In addition, the prominent southeast corner of the building is glazed, affording views to the double height wall of the main staircase from the main circulation route on campus. The artwork is a result of collaboration with landscape painter, Saul Becher (Percent for Art). Its portrayal of trees growing out of a sunken military barge presents an exciting counterpoint to the abstract nature of the building.

Firm || Studio Joseph
Project Name || Snug Harbor Cultural Center: Music Hall Addition
Architect || Wendy Evans Joseph
Architect of the Year Award Category || Cultural Concept

Project Location || Staten Island
Team || Wendy Evans Joseph, Principal-in-Charge; Alexios Bacolas, Project Manager
Country || United States
Photography ©Credit || ©Studio Joseph

Studio Joseph is a small studio comprised of diverse individuals from different nations. We revile bigotry, social injustice, and police brutality. As exhibition designers, we have the privilege of helping amplify voices that are silenced. As architects, we have the power to advance the design and presence of public buildings in underserved communities. While we are proud of our work, we realize that we can do more, and we pledge to use our skills and creativity to make a more profound change in the memory of George Floyd and others in the black community who have been murdered by the hands of those put in power to protect them. Education, empathy, and equity are at the forefront of our studio’s philosophy, and in that regard, we have made a specific action plan that includes:

Reviewing our internal policies and recommitting to hiring practices that prioritize inclusion.

Working with cultural and public institutions whose commitment to social justice mirrors our own.

Collaborating with colleagues whose work in community engagement enables us to develop assets and design strategies that empower individuals to have meaningful discussions about systemic racism in America.

And, educating ourselves as architects by delving into the Architectural League’s Race and Architecture recommended reading. If you are part of the architecture community, we invite you to explore these resources so that we may begin a deeper discussion.We are here to listen and collaborate on initiatives for making our communities and our world a better place for everyone. We look forward to your feedback and insight.