Benaroya_Image Page

Benaroya Hall


Seattle, Washington


Seattle Symphony

Collaborators +

General Contractor: Skanska

Acoustics: Cyril M. Harris

Theater Planning: Theater Projects

Civil & Structural Engineering: Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Mechanical Engineering: Notkin Engineering

Electrical Engineering: Sparling

Landscape Architecture: Murase Associates

Lighting Design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Graphics/Signage: WPA

Project Size

187,000 square feet

Seating Capacity

2,500 concert / 540 recital

Project Status



Architecture, Interior Design, Planning

Home to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and occupying an entire downtown block, Benaroya Hall embraces its civic and cultural presence with a multi-layered expression of public realm. The architecture integrates the power of the music performance with the substance of urban community.

From the circular main lobby, expansive bay windows provide sweeping views of the cityscape and the bay; at night, they create an urban-scale lantern that animates the presence of the building within the downtown skyline. Active at all hours of the day and evening, a block-long arcade provides access to both concert halls as well as shops, cafes, ticket office, parking garage and an underground transit station.

Inside the concert hall, architecture and acoustics are melded into a seamless performance experience. The hall’s enclosing surfaces are made of deeply colored mahogany. The lighter hues of balcony fronts, coffered ceiling panels and stage enclosure enhance the connection of audience to stage visually and acoustically. Superior sound quality is assured by the hall’s precise geometry of wood and plaster surfaces, while the carefully detailed joinery and exposed fasteners of the wood paneling are inspired by the craftsmanship of musical instruments.

Photography: Adam Hunter, Brandon Patoc, Lara Swimmer

“[Benaroya Hall] is a world-class establishment, a significant success... [the acoustics] seem exceptionally good... One hears the different orchestra sections with clarity...”

– Bernard Hollard, National Music Critic, The New York Times

Selected Awards

2001 AIA National Honor Award for Architecture

1999 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region, Honor Award

1999 AIA Washington Council, Civic Design Honor Award

1999 IESLA, Lumen West, Award

1999 International Illumination Design, Merit Award

1998 AIA Seattle Chapter, Merit Award