All renderings via Luxigon

Just before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, plans to build a performing arts center at the World Trade Center site are moving full speed ahead. Propelled by a $75 million dollar donation from billionaire Ronald O. Perelman in June, officials recently revealed the new design of the complex, and announced singer Barbra Streisand’s election as the chairwoman of the board on Thursday.

Designed by REX, the 90,000 square-foot cube-shaped building, to be called the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, will be constructed out of translucent, veined marble, laminated within insulated glass. To match the gravity of the surrounding context, the center will appear monumental and stately in the day time. When night falls, however, it will illuminate from within, revealing the silhouettes of the people inside.


Although the performing arts center was an important component of architect Daniel Libeskind’s 2003 design plan, the project was temporarily put on hold as other issues regarding the site’s redevelopment were discussed. The official design of the building, as well as the budget for the project, have also fluctuated since architect Frank Gehry’s initial design was scraped.

wtc-performing-arts-center-world-trade-center-design-new-york-city-untapped-cities-susanxu7The 499-person auditorium inside the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center

The most recent plan for the performing Arts Center at World Trade Center features movable walls and three small theaters, which can separately seat 499, 250 and 99 people. To accommodate larger scale multidisciplinary works, they can also be reconfigured into one 1,200 theater for dance, theater and music productions. According to Maggie Boepple, the president and director of the center, the building is expected to cost $243 million. Alongside Perelman’s donation, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has committed $100 million in federal funds for its construction.

Joshua Prince-Ramus, the Principal of REX, refers to the Perelman Center as a “mystery box” due to its many anticipated reconfigurations and overall flexibility. It is expected to open in 2020.

Next check out the Entire 11-Year Construction of One World Trade Center in Two Minutes, discover the Secrets of the 9/11 Memorial, and see how the World Trade Center site has changed over the years. Keep up with the author @heysuehey.