Construction Update: Three Stories of Structure on the Rise

Dorothy Ryan
Managing Director

Now that our first home has been under construction for nearly a year, many of our friends and future neighbors have remarked that they now see our building’s progress above the construction fence. Theatre for a New Audience’s first home is now starting to take shape in three dimensions.

While the acoustic isolation slab on the front two-thirds of the building was being prepared during the winter months, our construction team started to erect the steel and decking on the rear portion of the building (which will eventually serve as our stage door, loading area, mechanical and electrical rooms, rehearsal studio, backstage area and dressing rooms).

Now that the isolation slab is complete, we are seeing the structure rise on the front and middle portions of the building – a combination of masonry and steel. On the first floor, our future trap room has been enclosed, and interior walls are going up. We anticipate “topping off” (when the last beam is placed at the top of the structure) this coming summer.

Geoff Lynch of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture and the Theatre's Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz examine a mock-up of the Theatre's curtain wall.

We are also preparing for the manufacture of our dramatic curtainwall, a signature feature of the building’s architecture. Representatives from Josef Gartner GmbH, the firm that will manufacture the curtainwall, visited the site in February to review a mock-up of portions of its structure with the design and construction team. Details of the structure and materials were finalized so that the curtainwall can be manufactured in time for its installation next winter.

In keeping with our goals of sustainable design and construction, we are employing recycled construction materials whenever possible. Nearly 80% of our structural steel is composed of recycled steel content. Our concrete masonry units use fly ash (a byproduct of coal combustion) to replace 30% of the cement material. Using fly ash in concrete diverts it from the wastestream, reduces the energy required for extraction of virgin materials, and allays pollution by keeping fly ash out of the atmosphere. Our materials are also regionally produced whenever possible: 83% of our masonry materials are extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the construction site. Much of our structural steel is manufactured less than 50 miles away.

Our construction manager, F.J. Sciame Construction Co., is employing sustainable practices in its construction waste management. After they are hauled away from our site, wood, metal, paper, asphalt, concrete, sheetrock, plastic and residual waste are all sorted. During the first ten months of construction, 28.6 tons of waste were hauled away – notably, more than 84% of that waste has been diverted from landfills and has been delivered to various end-market users, so that their lifecycle can continue with future generations of recycled materials and reduced environmental impact.