Minnesota Orchestra appoints Toronto Architects KPMB to design renewal & expansion of Orchestra Hall

Orchestra announces $14 million raised to-date on $40 million project

The Minnesota Orchestral Association (MOA) announced today that the award-winning Toronto studio Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) has been appointed to design a renewal and expansion of Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis . Internationally celebrated for its design excellence, KPMB is known for its transformative designs across many cultural projects and renovations, ranging from Chicago’s Goodman Theatre to Canada ’s National Ballet School and the Royal Conservatory of Music. The renovation of Orchestra Hall will be directed by Bruce Kuwabara, design partner, and Marianne McKenna, partner-in-charge.

The $40 million project to revitalize Orchestra Hall will focus on a dramatic reinvention of its public lobby spaces, a welcoming exterior that better connects the Hall to the vibrant city outside, a refreshed auditorium and updated backstage facilities.

“We aspire to enhance all aspects of our patrons’ concert-going experiences, improving the functionality of Orchestra Hall, modernizing our capabilities and presenting a visionary new face on Orchestra Hall for this community,” said Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson. “We’re fortunate to own a hall located in the heart of a vital downtown, and we are presented with a superb opportunity to ensure that Orchestra Hall is a beacon in Minneapolis , drawing broad audiences and serving as a community landmark on the south end of the Nicollet Mall.”

“It is a great thing when a community comes together to support the arts in such a strong way. This revitalization of our Hall will improve the experience of our audiences and players for decades to come.” Music Director Osmo Vänskä.

KPMB was the unanimous choice of the six-member Minnesota Orchestra Architect Selection Committee and its professional advisory panel, after a seven month international search. Known for its particular expertise with renovation projects and performing arts venues, KPMB has recently designed 11 major cultural projects, eight of them performing arts facilities. The firm’s work has received over 100 awards for architectural excellence, including awards from the American Institute of Architects ( AIA ) Awards, the Chicago Athenaeum, Business Week/Architectural Record and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

“Bruce Kuwabara and Marianne McKenna offered dream credentials for the Orchestra Hall project,” said Gordon Sprenger, MOA Board member and Chair of the Architect Selection Committee. “Our committee was impressed with the way in which KPMB projects merge exquisite, stunning designs with highly adaptable, functional spaces. They have a real understanding of how the public circulates and uses performing arts spaces.

“Our intent was to hire a team who would immediately captivate the public with inspiring architecture – and who would also wow long term users with a savvy, functional design for decades to come. We found that team in KPMB,” said Mr. Sprenger.

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects
“KPMB tactfully orchestrate an interplay between heritage and new interventions so that evolving layers of history are clearly legible, [and] new parts have an expressive dynamism.” –The Architectural Review ( UK )


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