Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Washington, DC

Transformation of a World-Renowned Recital Hall

The Kennedy Center’s busiest venue, the Terrace Theater had not been renovated since its opening in 1978. The theater serves as the main recital hall for chamber music while also accommodating a wide variety of programming. The Kennedy Center sought to optimize the patron experience by replacing aging HVAC systems and worn finishes, improving accessibility, and modernizing theater operations and technology. Preservation of the hall’s excellent acoustics was paramount during design.

Highlights of the rehabilitated space include the introduction of rich wood paneling along the interior walls, a new seating plan that improves sightlines and increases the number of ADA-accessible seats, an adjustable proscenium, and a refurbished lobby. The aging building systems were replaced with improved variable airflow controls, new mechanical equipment, and other sustainable measures. The delivery of outside air was reduced by as much as 79 percent. New LED lighting fixtures and a lower lighting load have also created a 32 percent reduction in air volume delivered. Despite the addition of new restrooms, the theater is using 46 percent less water.

Architect

Quinn Evans

Client History

2018: Terrace Theater Renovation; Quinn Evans
2015: Israeli Lounge Improvements; JMT Architecture
2014: Russian Lounge; JMT Architecture
2012: South Block Concert Hall Renovation; Grimm + Parker
2010: Theater Lab Renovation; JMT Architecture
2008: Eisenhower Theater; Quinn Evans
2006: Family Theater; JMT Architecture
Various IDQ Contract Projects; Quinn Evans, JMT Architecture, and Samaha Associates

View additional Cultural and Performing Arts projects

  • Where the audience was once greeted by a boxy, unexceptional space…there now stands a gorgeous concert venue clad in stacks of richly hued, curved wood panels…there’s a newly minted feeling of warmth and comfort, and of expanded size and sweep.

    Classical Voices America
  • Where the audience was once greeted by a boxy, unexceptional space…there now stands a gorgeous concert venue clad in stacks of richly hued, curved wood panels…there’s a newly minted feeling of warmth and comfort, and of expanded size and sweep.

    Classical Voices America