Woolly Mammoth Theatre


Washington, D.C.


McInturff Architects


Julian Heine

Woolly Mammoth Theatre

Traditional as the cultural life of the nation’s capital generally is, theater audiences have a strong appetite for a wide range of productions, setting the stage for the new, 265-seat Woolly Mammoth Theatre. This first-time home of the leading-edge production company founded in 1980, designed by McInturff Architects with CM KLING + ASSOCIATES INC as lighting designer, could be best described as raw design on a shoestring budget. Yet, despite the predominance of concrete and cinderblock construction, there is room for artistry in such elements as the central ceiling plane, traversing the length of the lobby, and the three-story, curved and translucent wall. The lighting design honors the spirit of the architecture by eschewing recessed lighting in favor of fully exposed, utilitarian fixtures, which function quite suitably for such public spaces as the lobby, gathering area, ticket office, retail shop, café and circulation house, as well as the stage and backstage facilities. The fixtures can transform the space with the aid of color filters that are easily accessed from the front of the panels, a reminder that the award0winning lighting design complements the theater because both support the ideas that day after day, the show must go on.

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