Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
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Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2001 42,400 m²

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, evokes the image of two jewels in a glass case. Verizon Hall and the Perelman Theater, the center’s principal programmatic components, are treated as freestanding buildings on a vast indoor public plaza, Commonwealth Plaza, enclosed by a brick, steel and concrete perimeter building. From the perimeter emerges an immense steel and glass barrel vault roof that floods the interior with natural light.


By applying knowledge gained from acoustic models of the 19th century to the construction of a new music space, RVA designed the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall as a large cello, clad in mahogany. The natural acoustic properties of this shape are supplemented by a series of devices deployed throughout the hall. Operable doors allow sound to flow into reverberation chambers that occupy the interstitial space between the exterior enclosure and the interior of the hall. This programmable system is augmented by retractable sound-absorbing curtains within the chambers and a configurable acoustic canopy that directs sound energy out to the audience while allowing the musicians to hear themselves clearly.


The Perelman Theater, an intimate multi-purpose recital hall, can accommodate an audience of 650 for cultural performances and other events. Its innovative turntable stage enables transformation from a conventional proscenium to a smaller arena with a concert shell and wrap-around seating. The seating section is mounted on hydraulic risers that allow removal of the seats to create a ballroom floor or banquet hall. The Perelman’s roof garden features striking views of Verizon Hall, Commonwealth Plaza, and the city skyline.


Commonwealth Plaza, a sheltered extension of the sidewalk, encourages the fabric of the city to flow into the complex where, cafes, free performances, the spectacle of the space and the people who visit, combine to create an exciting civic experience. The glass barrel vault soaring 50 meters over the plaza becomes the new iconic image of Philadelphia.