Carnegie Hall is a kind of concert venue which has been designed by William B. Tuthill, who is an American architect and is majorly known for Carnegie hall. The hall was opened for the public in 1891 and was named after the owner of the building. It was the first concert hall that William B. Tuthill designed became one of the important structures in the performing arts world and also became one of the landmarks in New York.
Carnegie Hall came into existence in new york, as every place has its cultural identity through a building like Sydney has an opera house, England has Albert hall, so to promote the musical community of new york there needed a place with the perfect acoustically suitable hall or a space to have cultural events and to expand the musical community in new york.
The Carnegie Hall is built in an “L” kind of form with a total of 3 halls, one called the main hall which has the largest seating capacity with 2804 seats, the recital hall with 1200 seating capacity and chamber music hall which is the smallest among the three halls with 268 seating capacity and can be converted into space for lectures, reading, receptions or even as lodge rooms for certain organizations. So in total, the whole building can accommodate 3671 people.
The façade of the building prominently depicts the earlier period of Italian renaissance revival style architecture with arches, decoration, and brackets. The main hall has 5 levels of seating as balconies for the visitors. The whole structure is 8 stories tall. From the outer elevation, it looks like a government building, depicting its ancient era or culture.
As the Carnegie Hall was built in 1891, since then the surrounding has developed in all aspects like tall structures with glazing, modern style of buildings, more of build structures and less of public spaces, narrow streets and many more but Carnegie Hall stands unique till now and catches eyes to it among the tall structures which tend to dominate or overpower the Carnegie Hall.
Even in the era of innovation of steel in structural elements, steel framing, skeleton construction that reduces the load on the exterior walls, Carnegie Hall adapted the late nineteen-century American architecture with load-bearing walls which were thick at the bottom and overall the wall was thick giving heavy look in terms of aesthetics and give a rich look which was the key elements in these time to attract the general public to visit these kinds of cultural events and centers.
The materials used in the construction of the building are brown roman bricks to give the Italian renaissance revival style to the structure with thick concrete and masonry walls. The interiors also had terra cotta decorations with arches, band courses, and pilasters. The colonnades had freeze and cornices made of copper which gives an aesthetically rich look as a whole and some parts of the roof of Carnegie Hall were replaced with glass for more light through the sky light into the building.
The structure was based on the “guastavino” process where the robust, self-supporting arches and vaults were used with the interlocking of terracotta tiles layer with a thin skin of mortar. William B. Tuthill kept the overall interiors of the Carnegie hall simple, elegant, and functional. The curved ceiling and walls were designed in a manner so that the hall could get the best acoustical system as the sound needed to reach every person in the hall from the corner seat of the topmost balconies to the edge seats of the ground level audience.
The general acoustical treatments were eliminated and instead the structural parts of the hall were designed to reflect sound so that it does not lose its richness and clarity.
The structure went under several renovations between the period of 1983 till 2000 in which 15 storied buildings were made which were used as a house for artists and performers. In addition to the concert halls museum, café and club rooms were also added as a part of the facilities in the building.
Even though many changes were made, mainly additions to the structure, after the whole construction of the Carnegie hall, it did not lose its identity because of its pureness in the terms of the architectural style, standing out from the surrounding and mainly it had a purpose to serve the community with its cultural aspects.
The Carnegie hall has been valued by the artist as they dream of playing in this hall because of its sound purity and the overall experience of performing gives a sense of satisfaction to the artist which leads to famous joke:
“Rumor is that a pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street, Manhattan, stopped Jascha Heifetz and inquired, “Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” “Yes,” said Heifetz. “Practice”
- Carnegie Hall, an iconic New York City cultural institution, was saved from demolition in the 1950 and ’60s through concerted preservation efforts. Available at: https://www.nypap.org/preservation-history/carnegie-hall/
- Carnegie Hall. (Last updated: 28 March 2021. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_Hall
- Schmitz, Sandra Elizabeth (2015).Saving Carnegie Hall: A Case Study of Historic Preservation in Postwar New York City. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3x19f20h