Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts


LOCATION: Kansas City, MO
SIZE: 320,000 sq. ft.
OWNERS: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
ARCHITECT: Safdie Architects with BNIM
AWARDS: 2012 AL Light and Architecture Award for Outstanding Achievement
  2012 IES Award of Merit
  2012 IES Section Award
PHOTOGRAPHER: © Michael Spillers

DESIGN TEAM:Paul Zaferiou
 Glenn Heinmiller
 Dan Weissman

A striking addition to the Kansas City skyline, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts houses a state-of-the-art concert hall and performing arts theater, wrapped by a soaring glass-enclosed lobby. The lighting approach is minimalist, allowing the architecture to speak for itself without interruption.

Ribbons of metal mesh form the back wall of the Helzberg Concert Hall. Daylight washes down from skylights above, interacting spectacularly with the mesh. At night, electric light hidden in the skylights extends the effect.

In the Muriel Kauffman Theater, a sparkling effect with unusual depth is created by custom textured acrylic forms backed by folded reflective metal. Internal illumination is provided by fully dimmable LED strips, turning the balcony fronts into an expansive chandelier. Additionally, murals appear from behind scrim-like slat walls through varying intensities of hidden lighting.

Thoughtfully placed amongst the prairie grass, clusters of carefully aimed CMH spotlights provide a soft, even wash across the sides of the building forms. A multiple-zone control system provides full-on lighting for events and lower light levels after-hours.