The Future of Powell Hall 


The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce plans to renovate and expand its concert venue, Powell Hall—the first major renovation project at the historic Grand Center building since it became the SLSO's permanent home in 1968. The renovation and 65,000-square-foot expansion will transform the 1925 building into a vibrant and accessible music center for the entire community.

Powell Hall, originally named the St. Louis Theatre, was erected as a movie theater in 1925 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The renovation and expansion will foster innovation and greater community connections through the creation of a music center, enhance the audience and artist experience, and modernize the venue while preserving its historic character.

 

Renderings depict the exterior of the renovated Powell Hall auditorium. The renovation will preserve and protect the remarkable acoustics and maintain the current historical aesthetic while enhancing the comfort, safety, and accessibility by reducing and replacing the seats, adding ADA-accessible seating, and reconfiguring the seating chart.

Project details

The renovation and expansion of historic Powell Hall is anchored in creating greater access to music. Supported by architectural design that fosters a culture of openness and transparency, the renovated and expanded space is designed to foster connections, embrace today's concert experience, and uplift the superb artistry of SLSO musicians.

Expansion to create a state-of-the-art music center for the community

The cornerstone of the project is a 65,000-square-foot expansion that includes:
• A new 3,400-square foot education and learning center that will serve as a rehearsal venue for the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, IN UNISON Chorus, and St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and provide a space for education programs, lectures, and events. The center will serve as a platform for partnerships and collaborations to flourish—engaging, inspiring, and uniting the region's residents as part of the SLSO's vibrant community and education programs that include more than 300 performances and events a year.

• A new lobby with accessible, welcoming, and updated amenities, including the addition of concession areas, coat check, elevators, and restrooms, connecting Powell Hall to the new backstage area and education and learning center.

• A backstage space with expanded amenities for artists including new lounges, dressing rooms, practice spaces, instrument storage, a new music library, and media and recording suites. The backstage expansion will help ensure that Powell Hall remains a destination for the SLSO's many celebrated artistic collaborators.

Renovation to enhance the artistic and audience experience

Powell Hall is one of America's most acoustically remarkable and visually stunning concert halls. The renovation will improve safety, accessibility, and comfort, and will help ensure that it remains a treasured civic icon for generations to come by:
• Improving existing entrances and adding new ones, making Powell Hall more welcoming for all Grand Center neighbors and visitors.

• Establishing and nurturing beautiful outdoor green spaces.

• Improving the listening experience in orchestra level seating and reducing external noise through soundproofing and isolation measures, as well as protecting and preserving the acoustics throughout the venue.

• Reducing the auditorium's capacity from 2,683 to 2,150 seats, creating a more intimate patron experience, featuring larger seats and additional leg room to increase comfort and improve accessibility.

• Creating an ADA-accessible venue with additional seating, and improving the safety of the auditorium by adding handrails and three elevators.

• Adding amenities including restrooms, concessions, and open gathering spaces, and improving parking areas and adding safer and accessible drop-off locations.

• Installing a state-of-the-art lighting system, improving building infrastructure and the efficiency of existing building systems.

Announcement

Read the complete press release announcing the renovation and expansion of Powell Hall.

press release

History

Erected in 1925 as the St. Louis Theatre, the building now known as Powell Symphony Hall was acquired by the St. Louis Symphony Society in 1966.

read

Project Team

In addition to lead architectural firm Snøhetta, the project design team includes local minority and woman-owned firms and several industry-leading companies.

MeEt the team