Alice Tully Hall


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Alice Tully Hall is a concert hall at the Lincoln Center Square for the Performing Arts in New York City. Alice Tully Hall is named for Alice Tully, a New York performer and philanthropist whose donations assisted in the construction of the hall. Tully Hall is located within the Juilliard Building, a Brutalist structure, which was designed by renowned architect Pietro Belluschi, and completed and opened in 1969. Since Alice Tully Hall opening, it has hosted numerous performances and events, including the New York Film Festival.

As part of the Lincoln Center 65th Street Development Project, the Juilliard School and Tully Hall recently underwent a major renovation and expansion by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and FXFOWLE, completed in 2009. The Alice Tully Hall building utilizes new interior materials, state-of-the-art technologies, and updated equipment for concerts, film, theater, and dance. The expansion of the Juilliard Building created a three-story all-glass lobby and sunken plaza beneath a new, cantilevered extension, “projecting a newly visible public identity to Broadway.”

What makes the Alice Tully Hall / Julliard expansion important are two stories: one of urban design and a re-imagining of public space, and one of creating a dialogue between Modernist and “Contemporary/Post-Modern” architecture that preserves the past while advancing new ideas in design.

Elizabeth Diller called Lincoln Center the “place that architects love to hate,” but said that DS+R wanted to give it a “second chance.” Alice Tully Hall had long been criticized by the architectural community, due to the general dissatisfaction with the complex’s overall feeling of detachment from its urban environment (the consequence of an antiquated architectural and planning ideology), the unsavory forms of the main theatre buildings, and the inadequacies of the actual performance spaces. The Juilliard Building, by comparison, received far more favorable reviews, especially with regard to its performance spaces. Despite its improvements over the superblock buildings, it was not without its problems: no clear, distinct public entrance for Tully Hall, the massive exterior stair and footbridge, lack of engagement with Broadway (either its social vitality and unique diagonal shape).

The expansion of Alice Tully Hall / Juilliard and the comprehensive renovation of Alice Tully Hall resolve many of the original building’s issues, meeting the program requirements of the Juilliard School while actively engaging the once-reclusive Juilliard building with Broadway and Lincoln Square, making it an integral part of the area’s vibrant street life. Moreover, the expansion and renovation successfully merge the Brutalist / Modernist language of the original building with the contemporary Post-Modernist language of the addition. Alice Tully Hall is this Post-Modern language that interacts most with the streetscape, reflecting contemporary ideas regarding the creation of public space and the relationship/transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. The new Tully Hall and Juilliard building has received rave reviews, with critics who liked the original building praising the architects for “pulling off the near-impossible feat of improving a good building without subverting its finer traits.”