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LEO A DALY designs $50M expansion of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

The West Palm Beach cultural institution will be easier to access and more comfortable for visitors

The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, a West Palm Beach landmark known for hosting world-class musical, dance, and dramatic performances, is getting larger and more visitor-friendly thanks to a $50-million expansion designed by LEO A DALY.

The iconic theater, originally designed by Eberhard Zeidler with LEO A DALY as associate architect, will receive a number of upgrades to improve the visitor experience. These include increasing the size of the Dreyfoos Hall Lobby, implementing new technology throughout, creating a pedestrian-friendly plaza, adding a new valet parking garage, building a new entrance/exit ramp to the existing garage and improving traffic flow on and around the campus.

“Over the next 22 months, the Kravis Center will begin to transform into an even brighter beacon for Palm Beach County,” said Judith Mitchell, CEO for the Kravis Center. “The Kravis Center welcomes more than 500,000 guests every year, and this expansion will accommodate a growing base of customers with expanded ease of accessibility to enjoy our schedule of performances.”

“The Kravis Center is absolutely the jewel of West Palm Beach. It’s our Sydney Opera House,” said Ron Wiendl, AIA, director of design with LEO A DALY’s West Palm Beach office. “Our job is to create a more comfortable visitor experience, while protecting the integrity of the original architecture, and harmonizing it with the neighborhood context.”

Design challenges include moving the lobby’s curtain-wall façade by thirty feet while keeping the barrel-vault roof intact; screening the new parking garage from view to blend with the neighborhood; improving the center’s visibility and wayfinding for drivers; decreasing rush-hour traffic; and improving public engagement with the landscape.

The design-build project is designed by LEO A DALY, with the Weitz Company serving as general contractor and the Wantman Group (WGI) providing landscape design. Construction started May of 2018, and is on schedule for completion in 2020. Detailed scope includes:

New valet garage

A new valet garage will reduce traffic congestion, increase safety and improve traffic flow in and around the Center. The garage will be located on the east side of the building on the site of the former Amphitheater, allowing cars to easily enter and exit the two lanes of service from Sapodilla Avenue.

Outdoor pedestrian-friendly urban plaza

The Center’s new park-like urban space will give guests easier access to the Center, whether walking from area hotels, the Convention Center or CityPlace. The pedestrian-friendly area will feature expanded sidewalks, a bike path and a lovely waterfall fountain, welcoming pedestrians and bicyclists and better integrating the Kravis Center into the urban fabric of the city.

Expanded lobby space and additional restrooms

The Center’s iconic glass curtain wall will be pushed outward, adding 6,000 square feet to the Dreyfoos Hall Lobby, which will provide more room for guests and reduce wait times at the bar, bistro and other service areas. Once expanded, the lobby will include additional seating and restrooms and will better accommodate guests before and after shows, as well as during intermission.

New entrance/exit ramp to self-parking garage

To improve traffic flow in and out of the garage, and offer guests an easier way to access the fourth and fifth level of our garage, the Center will add a new dedicated entrance/exit at the fourth level. This additional ramp will reduce congestion in the garage as a whole.

New interactive marquee and artistic wrap around the main garage

The Kravis Center will improve its visibility and identity by adding an interactive marquee with audio and video elements on the southwest corner of Tamarind Avenue and Okeechobee Boulevard. This new marquee will help make the Center more recognizable to residents and visitors alike. An artistic wrap will beautify the main garage on the Tamarind Avenue/Iris Street corner side, helping guests to better locate the Center and integrating the garage into the expansion project.

New advanced technology throughout the Center

The Center will implement new technology throughout to include:

–         Closed-circuit video monitoring of the garage and the entire campus, improving security

–         Update all marketing, Box Office and other public information technology

–         Install a barcode system for tickets for ease of entry and improved security

–         Add electronic way-finding and parking assistance for the revitalized main garage

–         Add additional security screeners at venue entrances