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The Related Company's mixed-use project that occupies the block bounded by 42nd and 41st Streets and Tenth and Dyer Avenues and is now under construction will include three small theaters designed by Frank O. Gehry that at one point were planned to be located at Ground Zero at a cost of $700 million.

An article by Robin Pogrebin in yesterday's edition of The New York Times noted that the theater component of the Related project "is budgeted at a mere $60 million." The Related building, which will also contain a hotel and rental apartments, has been designed by Arquitectonica.

The theaters will be used by the Signature Theater Company, how located at 555 West 42nd Street. It had been designated as a major tenant for an arts center at Ground Zero. The article quoted James Houghton, the company's artistic director, as stating that "we had hoped to contribute to the development down there and bring that part of the city back," adding that "but this site is much more sympathetic to what we were going after. We're in the theater district."

Signature, which was founded in 1991 and has produced works by Edward Albee and Arthur Miller, expects to start its first season the near space at the base of the residential tower at 440 West 42nd Street in January 2012 and has raised $41 million of the project's cost.

Mr. Gehry is best known for his titanium-clad Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, his fretted glass-clad office building for Barry Diller in West Chelsea and the stainless steel-clad rental apartment tower under construction at 8 Spruce Street near City Hall.

In this project, the main material will be plywood.

The largest theater in the complex will be known as the end stage and will have 299 seats and have a plywood wall that the article said "evoked the surface of the earth as water evaporates and it begins to crack."

The 235-seat Courtyard Theater will have a movable floor and modular platforms and the third theater, the 190-seat Jewel Box, will be enclosed by plywood resembling "folded scraps from a paper bag," the article continued.

The three theaters will be on the same level wrapped around a lobby whereas the plan at Ground Zero would have stacked them. The theater will have 50 feet of the building's facade, at street level, and a sculptural stairway leading to the lobby on the second floor.

According to a press release from Signature that appeared in today's edition of, the plywood panels in the End Stage "will be painted to fade to black as they approach the stage, creating a transition from the architectural space of the room the scenic space of the stage." The panels in the Jewel Box theater, it continued, "will be stained a deep chocolate brown that will disappear as the house is faded to black."

"The street level lobby is compact and visually dominated by a plywood clad stairway that will lead to a gracious upper lobby and then to the three theatres. The extensive 2nd floor lobby will be used for informal gatherings and includes a bar and informal caf? seating. The lobby also includes a small bookstore area where books by current and past Playwrights-in-Residence will be sold, and audience enrichment materials relating to current Playwrights-in-Residence and their Signature residencies will be made available," according to the release.
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.