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Park Avenue Armory, Drill Hall

New York, NY | 55,000 SF | 2010

PBDW has been working with the Park Avenue Armory since 2006. The Armory’s 55,000 SF column-free Wade Thompson Drill Hall is one of New York City’s most unique venues. As such, it is in constant demand and is the Armory’s most critical source of revenue. Due to the Drill Hall’s original lack of infrastructure, show producers were challenged to employ temporary means to power and cool the shows, increasing both the time and expense of each event, and limiting the Armory’s creative and revenue potential. The Drill Hall was also acoustically transparent and lacked daylighting controls, which further limited the types of events and programs the space could support.

Our approach to the necessary building upgrades revolved around that goal that there would be minimal detraction from the original character of the space. These solutions were designed to be as imperceptible as possible. In order to improve the acoustic performance of the Drill Hall, we designed new insulated windows, and incorporated insulation and heavy-mass lagging into the hall’s walls to increase their acoustic resistance. We structurally re-enforced the Drill Hall trusses to improve the flexibility and operations of the space. This permitted them to support theatrical loads required of a world-class venue. We installed remote-controlled motorized blackout shades for the space’s windows. We also incorporated a wide array of rigging bars for the attachment of chain hoists, increasing the rigging arrangements throughout the space. Additionally, we added new auxiliary lights that can be seamlessly raised and lowered depending on the needs of each show. All of this is supported by a new, permanent theatrical power supply.

The renovated Drill Hall now facilitates a diverse range of installations and events, shows, and performances with reduced costs, making the space more attractive to artists and producers. Our efforts have reduced the set-up and break-down time by an average of two days per show, enabling the Armory to increase its programming and revenue from events.