Providence, R.I., February 16, 2023 — Brown University will celebrate the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center in October 2023, marking a transformative new chapter for the arts at Brown. With a radical approach to spatial, acoustic, and technical flexibility, the 118,000-square-foot arts venue—designed by REX/Joshua Ramus and managed by the University’s Brown Arts Institute (BAI)— will inspire innovative and impactful artmaking among students, faculty, community members, and visiting artists alike.
The Lindemann will be a new hub for performance at Brown, showcasing artists and arts practice in music, dance, theater, literary, visual, and cinematic arts. By enabling new forms of collaboration and exploration across the arts, The Lindemann reaffirms creative inquiry and expression as key pillars of the University’s mission, said Brown President Christina H. Paxson.
“With the opening of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center, Brown is positioned to become a top destination for world-class arts scholars, students committed to the arts, international artists and community members who will be invited to make, present and witness work in this innovative space,” Paxson said. “The Lindemann plays a key role in creating a distinctive home for generations of talented students, faculty, community members and visiting artists.”
The Lindemann will be a catalyst and incubator for ambitious programming across the Brown Arts ecosystem, providing opportunities for visiting artists and scholars of the highest caliber to develop new work in residence, collaborate with Brown students and faculty, and present performances for the Providence community. Managed and collaboratively curated by the BAI, the new center will be a major academic resource for Brown’s many creative communities. It will be the largest arts venue on the Brown campus, filling a need for state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal, and teaching spaces to serve the University’s arts departments, ensembles, and student arts groups.
Through year-round programming, research-focused courses, initiatives, collaborations, and partnerships, along with rigorous arts and academic programs, the BAI will commission and present new work in The Lindemann, across campus, Providence, and beyond. The BAI will work closely on programming with students, faculty, and on-campus arts groups, as well as in collaboration with leading visiting artists and performing arts organizations.
“When it opens next fall, The Lindemann will serve as a laboratory and showcase space for artistic innovation,” said Avery Willis Hoffman, Artistic Director of Brown Arts Institute. “We are thrilled by the possibilities for new programming, activations, installations, and research that this space will enable.
This building is emblematic of Brown’s continued investment in the arts and arts research, providing unprecedented resources for artistic development for faculty, students, the Providence community, and visiting artists.”
Designed by internationally recognized architecture firm REX, led by founder and principal Joshua Ramus, The Lindemann will feature a main hall designed to transform into orchestra, end stage, recital, experimental media, and flat floor configurations using automated performance equipment, as well as an array of spaces for large- and small-scale classes, rehearsals, and performances. The building’s state- of-the-art technical capabilities and versatility will empower artists working at the forefront of performing, sonic, literary, visual, and cinematic arts to expand their practices into new creative territory, as well as providing students and faculty with a platform for speculative, research-based coursework and projects.
“The Lindemann is a new architectural species, a radically flexible yet extremely precise arts typology where performance is not the final product, but another piece of vital research in the creation—and pedagogy—of groundbreaking art and arts leaders,” REX Founding Principal Joshua Ramus said.
Siting and Design
The Lindemann Performing Arts Center is centrally located on The Walk—a series of linked green spaces at the heart of Brown’s College Hill campus—between Angell and Olive Streets, facing the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. With adjacency to other arts-centered academic facilities in the campus core, the location helps establish a hub of creative activity, easily accessed by arts faculty and students.
The Lindemann’s fluted aluminum façade is intersected by a 13-foot horizontal “clearstory” that slices through the building at stage level to reveal the interior of the main floor to passersby in every direction, inviting the surrounding community to witness and engage in the creation of art within the building. The clearstory cantilevers out from the building to form the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Lobby, a central convening space with dramatic views over campus, as well as exterior tribune, promenade, and assembly spaces that can host outdoor performances and events.
The Lindemann’s main hall can transform into five different stage and audience configurations, ranging from a 625-seat symphony orchestra hall to a 325-seat proscenium theater to a 450-seat recital hall to an experimental media “cube” to a flat-floor configuration that provides a column-less expanse for numerous kinds of Brown Arts and campus events. To facilitate the five configurations, the design team invented a new performance typology where all six surfaces of the hall (floor, ceiling, and four walls) modulate physically and/or acoustically through automated and manually assisted performance equipment. These include five movable gantries, a perimeter ring of retractable acoustic curtains, 40 adjustable acoustic reflector panels, seven utility battens, three lighting bridges, two stage lifts, three seating wagon lifts, and numerous stage risers and seating wagons. All five configurations include access to a lighting catwalk and a control room for sound. Technology is state of the art, including professional touring-grade amplification, multi-channel “ambisonic” audio, immersive video projection, scenic projection, and a full complement of fixed lighting.
Below street level, three spaces designed for music, theater, and dance will enable students, faculty, and visiting artists to create cutting-edge, original artwork in flexible, well-equipped studios. Each includes a control room and customizable performance equipment, allowing the room to function as studios, classrooms, or performance spaces. The largest of these lower-level rooms, when not used for orchestra, chorus, and other types of rehearsals, can double as an intimate 165-seat performance venue for smaller musical and theatrical ensembles. A movement lab—with sprung floors, a mirror and barre along one wall, and adjustable curtains—can seat up to 110 for performances. The performance lab can be used as a 50-seat black-box theater, with walls and floors made of sacrificial materials that can be painted, drilled into, and otherwise customized to support theatrical projects. Taken together, these spaces will function as a cross between a laboratory and a workshop, where students, faculty, and visiting artists can engage in experiments, fabrications, installations, and speculative projects. The Lindemann’s lower floors also house an array of practice rooms, musical instrument and equipment storage, and dressing rooms, along with spaces for event support.
The Lindemann, together with the adjacent Granoff Center and other arts venues across campus, will provide vital infrastructure that will catalyze the next level of instruction, operation, and opportunity for Brown as a center for creativity, expression, and discovery.
More information on The Lindemann Performing Arts Center at Brown University is available at brown.edu/initiatives/performing-arts-center.