Hayes Theater, New York

Designed by: Rockwell Group
For client: Second Stage Theater Floor area: 1560.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Entertainment Venue of the Year

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

About the Project

In 2015, Second Stage Theatre (founded in 1979) purchased the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway, dedicating it to contemporary works of theater by living American playwrights, with an emphasis on women and minority writers. A landmark, the Hayes is the smallest Broadway theater. Called the Little Theatre when it was built in 1912 by Winthrop Ames, it was a 299-seat venue. Ames was interested in the Little Theater Movement and wanted to build an intimate venue. Rockwell Group’s goal was to develop a more modern, approachable design that referenced the Hayes’s heritage as well as Second Stage’s contemporary aesthetic. The renovation adds a modern rigging system, allowing for more sophisticated sets; an overhauled HVAC system; upgraded fire alarm system; ADA access (there was none previously); and energy saving measures with a goal of earning a LEED Gold certification.

What’s unique about it

The auditorium has been transformed with a pixilated environmental mural over walls that transition in ombré from light to dark blue. Iridescent copper fabric seating and glossy black light fixtures adds a fresh look. When The Little Theater first opened, the walls were adorned with reproductions of tapestries designed by the Rococo artist François Boucher (b. 1703 – d.1770). Rockwell Group’s mural is inspired by those tapestries, but it is a modern, digitized interpretation. A scene from one of Boucher’s tapestries depicting Dionysus/Bacchus—the Greek/Roman god of theater—was enlarged and applied to the side walls in a pixelated pattern that makes it appear abstract up close.

The lower lobby has been restored to its original use as a gathering space and concessions area. Private offices on the third floor were reclaimed as dressing rooms and a green room. Rockwell Group also added a multipurpose room for play readings/workshops or a donors’ lounge.

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater Lobby

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© Paul Warchol

Hayes Theater Exterior

Location of project:
Credits:
David Rockwell, FAIA

Michael Fischer

Kyle Baumgardner

Linda Casper

Elisabeth Chrisco

Jessica Gidari

Merav Lahr

Gaetane Bertol

Michael Dereskewicz

Morgan Moore

Donna Pallotta

Jim Waterhouse

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