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new york's perelman performing arts center is shrouded in a luminous marble veil

a new icon opens in lower manhattan


Architect Joshua Ramus of REX and his team celebrate as its Perelman Performing Arts Center opens to the public in New York with its glowing marble facade. The project marks the long-awaited addition to the World Trade Center site. Since 2001, this space held the memories of disaster for New Yorkers, but has since grew into a symbol of growth and hope. The site has since seen the construction of new icons like Santiago Calatrava‘s sculptural Oculus shopping mall and transport hub, and Snøhetta‘s 9/11 Memorial Pavilion, all surrounded by a cluster of mirrored skyscrapers. 


While the neighborhood has certainly been brought back to life, its residential population more than doubling over these two decades, critics have noted that a theater and arts center would be a more meaningful addition and neighbor to the poignant memorial pools. Governor Hochul reflected these sentiments at today’s opening ceremonies, noting that ‘arts are the world’s only common language, they allow us to open up a dialogue with people around the world.’

perelman center new york
image © Iwan Baan | @iwanbaan



the patterned marble cube


The Perelman Performing Arts Center now stands as a glowing beacon in New York. The cubed building is shrouded in a gridded facade of veined marble, which rises 138 feet and seems to float over the sidewalks. By day, the building presents itself as an elegant monolith, with its translucent Portuguese marble laminated on both sides with glass. This harmonious blend of materials allows daylight to permeate the structure while maintaining energy efficiency and protecting the marble from the elements. When the night descends, the facade undergoes a transformation, emanating a warm and inviting glow from polished aluminum LED pendants within.

perelman center new york
image © Iwan Baan



perelman performing arts center’s reconfigurable theaters


REX collaborated with theater consultant Charcoalblue to plan the Perelman Performing Arts Center’s reconfigurable interiors. The center hosts three flexible venues of varying sizes, each equipped with movable walls and scene docks that can be combined and reconfigured into over five dozen unique setups. The theaters are equipped with sophisticated automated and manual technical systems, empowering creative teams to bring their artistic visions to life. Four massive vertically sliding walls, or ‘guillotine’ walls, weighing up to forty-six tons each, separate or combine performance spaces with remarkable acoustical precision. Movable seating towers, interwoven catwalks, and walkable grids overhead offer boundless flexibility for stage configurations, ensuring the perfect setting for any artistic endeavor.

perelman center new york
image © Iwan Baan



david rockwell’s lobby and restaurant


When visitors first step inside the building, they are greeted by lobby and restaurant designed by Rockwell Group. The lobby, with its dynamic, glowing ceiling visible from the street, offers a warm and inviting arrival experience. It serves as an architectural beacon and wayfinding system in one, setting the stage for the artistic wonders that await within. A built-in stage at the southern end of the lobby provides a platform for casual performances throughout the day. Custom, modular sofas frame the space and can be reconfigured to accommodate different events. The welcoming restaurant, overseen by celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson, is adjacent to the lobby and features transparent glass walls that offer tantalizing glimpses of the outdoor terrace, where guests can savor their meals in the open air.

perelman center new york
translucent marble is illuminated by LED lighting fixtures | image © Iwan Baan new york's perelman performing arts center is shrouded in a luminous marble veil
the lobby and restaurant interiors are designed by Rockwell Group | image © Iwan Baan


the performance space can be transformed with sixty-two configurations

new york's perelman performing arts center is shrouded in a luminous marble veilveined marble sourced from Portugal wraps the building | image © Iwan Baan


the project marks the latest addition to the World Trade Center site

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