Dec 20, 2017

Announcing the REACH! And defining its purpose.

When approaching the Kennedy Center from Memorial Bridge or along the Potomac River on the footpath from Georgetown or the National Mall, the view of swiveling cranes and newly pitched walls gives an exciting glimpse of the fast-changing landscape on the most western edge of the District.

The Center is building the future with the first major physical expansion in its history, now named the REACH—a nod to President Kennedy’s inspirational and aspirational vision for human potential. The REACH’s expansive campus will serve as a model for a 21st-century performing arts center, offering visitors the chance to Renew, Experience, Activate, Create, and Honor the legacy of President John F. Kennedy and immerse themselves in the power of the performing arts.

The REACH will be a noisy, active place that brings the full range of the performing arts to audiences while emphasizing both the creative process and arts learning. Renowned American architect Steven Holl’s innovative, highly flexible design complements the silhouette of the current original building and adds breathtaking outdoor spaces, as well as three distinct pavilions overlooking the Potomac River.

Features of the REACH include:

  • A contiguous, interconnected complex with soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, all of which will be open to the public
  • Three new classrooms, including a Learning Lab, providing dedicated educational and interactive space for learners of all ages
  • Three studios of various sizes designed for maximum artistic flexibility, with over-sized viewing windows to engage passersby and visitors
  • The Forum, ideal for film screenings, lectures, and small-scale performances, plus a Board Room for constituent meetings
  • Two large, high-ceilinged event spaces, one overlooking the gardens and Ginkgo Grove and the other with views of both the REACH grounds and the Potomac River
  • A massive outdoor stage and video wall to host simulcast and live performances
  • Two dining options: a small coffee bar and a larger café/outdoor bistro
  • Landscaped paths, seating, and gathering places throughout the landscaping
  • For the first time, a connection—by way of a pedestrian bridge spanning Rock Creek Parkway—to the National Mall and other presidential memorials