Benaroya Hall

Seattle, Washington

Project Size:

187,000 square feetSeating capacity: 2,500 concert / 540 recital seats

Project Status:

Completed 1998


Arts + Culture, Civic Design


In Seattle, Civic Pride Builds Music a Home

The New York Times, 9/1/98

Seattle's Sound Investment… the new Benaroya Hall is the Crown Jewel in the City's Plan to Weave a World-Class Arts Infrastructure into its Downtown Core

The Los Angeles Times, 9/1/98

Finally, A Place to Call Its Own

Financial Times, 10/1/98

They Do Things Better Over There

The Sunday Telegraph (London), 10/1/98

Selected Awards

2001 AIA

National Honor Award

1999 AIA

Northwest & Pacific Region Honor Award

1999 AIA

Washington Council Civic Design Honor Award

1999 Lumen

West Award

1999 International Illumination

Design Award of Merit

1998 AIA

Seattle Chapter Award of Merit

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.