Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, Manhattan, New York City

David Geffen Hall is the home of the New York Philharmonic and a cultural hub for New York. Designed by architect Max Abramovitz and opened in 1962, the hall has undergone many transformations, redesigned in 1976, and again in 1992. In 2022, the fourth renovation of the concert hall took place, reopening on October 8, 2022, and this renovation included using GVA Lighting luminaires. This latest reimagining of the hall was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, with a focus on inclusion and community experiences. The design aimed to promote a flexible concert area which welcomes audiences to the Lincoln Center through an accessible space with classy, modern aesthetics while keeping the authenticity of the hall. With this last renovation, David Geffen Hall has been honored with the 2023 Architecture Master Prize Award in the Cultural Architecture Category. This prestigious international accolade acknowledges outstanding achievements in architecture and design excellence worldwide. David Geffen Hall was highlighted for its groundbreaking and intimate design, setting it apart from numerous exceptional projects spanning 81 countries.

How did this new award-winning design come to be?

An open plan design with twice the square footage at ground level was achieved by moving the grand stairs and escalator to the back right and placing the ticket desk at a new welcome centre at the front corner along Broadway. The original columns, façade, and windows remain as iconic fixtures, yet the space has been modernized with an improved visitor entrance, an exterior media wall displayed onto the street, and new eateries.

The concert hall itself is completely transformed, with the stage moved forward 25 feet and seating reduced at the back to instead surround the stage and grant audience members a closer 360-degree experience. Innovative, modern technology provides upgraded acoustical properties, and wood panelling coats the interior to optimize acoustics during performances.

Improved community spaces include a community living room, a screen to live stream free performances from inside the Wu Tsai Theatre, and a sidewalk studio for free performances and events.

GVA Lighting luminaires were selected by their partner and NYC Representative, The Dulanski Group. Lighting Designer Fisher Marantz Stone was appointed to create a lighting design that matched the welcoming ambiance that the architects incorporated into the interior design, and which also provided adaptable lighting to optimize varying performances and events.

GVA Lighting’s STR9-LITE RGBW with IP30 indoor fixtures were selected to light up cove and ceiling spaces within the main hall, the lobby, and the corridors, to make them appear brighter and higher. This luminaire offers color-changing linear wall washing and grazing interior LED lighting, to allow for dynamic color-changing displays that are flexible to complement any event.

GVA Lighting’s STR9-DWT fixtures, in outdoor-rated dynamic white, were also used, supplying dynamic white linear wall washing and grazing LED lighting.

GVA Lighting’s luminaires have not only added visual splendor but have also played a crucial role in creating a warm and welcoming ambiance. From the bright, open-plan spaces at the entrance and lobby to the dynamic and ambient lighting that envelops performances, these lighting solutions contribute significantly to providing audiences with an unparalleled and immersive experience.

As the curtains rise on the new chapter of David Geffen Hall, bathed in the radiant glow of GVA Lighting luminaires, it stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of architecture and lighting design, setting the stage for a future where culture, innovation, and community converge in perfect harmony.

GVA Lighting’s Partner: The Dulanski Group

Lighting Designer: Fisher Marantz Stone

Architect: Diamond Schmidt Architects

Design Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects


2023 MASterworks Award: Restoration

2023 Civic Trust Awards, Regional Finalist

2023 Fast company’s Innovation by Design Award

2023 Architizer A+Award

2023 AZ Award Finalist