Diamond Schmitt is the latest firm to form a powerful team with Heatherwick Studio, one of the world’s most experimental firms, run by polymath Thomas Heatherwick.
The London studio has announced other impressive commissions in recent years that involve high-profile collaborations. In Silicon Valley, it is working with Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels Group on the Google Mountain View Campus; and in New York, it has conceptualized Pier 55, a new park slated to open in Manhattan next year that is backed by media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg.
Chosen after a two-year competition, the Toronto-London team beat out 100 firms vying for the Lincoln Center commission, including Foster + Partners, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Bing Thom of Vancouver. The renewed $500-million venue – the primary home for the New York Philharmonic – will preserve the exterior of the music hall, with its iconic columns, while the interior will be completely gutted.
Heatherwick, who graduated from the Royal College of Art, is not an architect by training, though his studio is well known for building pavilions, bridges, contemporary art museums, even double decker buses. One of his first projects was Rolling Bridge, a pedestrian walkway that uses hydraulics to curl up and roll out of the way to let boats pass. In 2012, his fire-y cauldron – formed by 204 copper torches that opened and closed like a flower – wowed the world during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Heatherwick’s creative imagination is matched by Diamond Schmitt’s expertise in performing arts building, for what should be an unparalleled design. Established in 1975, the full-service Toronto firm has a portfolio of over 40 performing arts venues scattered across Canada and the world – most notably the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre in Toronto, and the New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. They are currently working on the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock, Texas.
Renderings for the Lincoln Center project are expected to be unveiled early next year, with construction starting in 2019.