Whitney Museum of American Art, Susan and John Hess Family Theater and Gallery

New York, New York, USA

The new Whitney Museum of American Art provides three times the gallery space of the museum’s previous home as well as a wealth of public gathering and event spaces. The unmistakable architectural form includes four terraces, a restaurant, café, and a flexible, 171-seat, multipurpose theatre. The versatile venue features retractable seating, an adjustable acoustic ceiling, blackout curtains, retractable side wall acoustic banners, and all-LED performance lighting—making it one of the first all-LED museum-based theatres in America. The Whitney needed a space that had the flexibility to feature live music, lectures, theatrical performances, movie screenings, banquets, dinners, and mid-scale social events. We designed the Hess Theatre’s retractable seating, adjustable acoustic systems, and performance equipment to provide precisely that level of adaptability, all in an elegant package. We also designed and specified the LED performance lighting system in the Whitney’s multi-use film and video gallery.

Whitney Museum of American Art
Credit: Theatre Projects
Credit: Arnold Brower
Credit: Simon Leung courtesy of Ovando

Whitney Museum


Renzo Piano Building Workshop | Cooper, Robertson & Partners


Cerami & Associates


Whitney Museum, corporate and private events, local and regional arts groups

Seat count


Construction type

New construction

Theatre type

Interactive media, Flexible theatre


Programming, concept design, theatre planning, and theatre equipment design and specification



Venue website


Whitney Museum of American Art
Credit: Timothy Schenck

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