Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) Is Just Getting Into The Swing of Things

The Manhattan performing arts complex recently cut the ribbon on a multi-million dollar lobby renovation—rechristened the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Atrium for a star studded gathering.

The expanded, 7,000-square-foot atrium, clad in warm red oak, features a 26-foot digital wall and a new glass staircase linking the atrium to the sixth floor.

The room’s focal point is a small stage facing east toward Central Park, where a jazz ensemble played holiday tunes during the celebration. Above, bronze mesh curtains, arranged in ribbon-like waves, conceal lighting and a state-of-the-art acoustic ceiling. Below is a patterned red carpet, a hue appropriate for the evening’s guests: both political and pop culture luminaries including Michael Bloomberg, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Kid Rock (a fedora atop his signature locks) rubbed elbows before the ribbon cutting.

Photo: Lawrence Sumulong

The redesign, led by New York firm Ennead Architects, opened up the area to create a welcoming, flexible public face for JALC, fondly known as the House of Swing.

“When [Mica Ertegun] realized the atrium needed a makeover, she worked with Ennead to create this marvelous space,” said Bette Midler, who emceed the event.

Photo: Frank Stewart

JALC, located on the fifth floor of the Time Warner Center, was designed by Rafael Viñoly in 2004. While the performances spaces—Rose Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Appel Room—were critically acclaimed, its public areas seemed like an afterthought; the New York Times wryly equated its lobby to that of “a neighborhood Cineplex.”

But architects Richard Olcott and Molly McGowan of Ennead worked closely with Ertegun—whose husband, the late Ahmet Ertegun, cofounded Atlantic Records—to create a place that, in the philanthropist’s words, allows visitors “enjoy and be inspired by jazz.” Read more > > >
via Architectural Record | Lead image: Frank Stewart