Founded by George Balanchine, the School of American Ballet is the premiere ballet academy in the U.S. and the official training academy for the New York City Ballet. Located within the Rose building, a 1980s high rise on the
Lincoln Center campus, the renovation and 8,200 sf expansion includes the addition of two new dance studios, accomplished by nesting
two sets of floating studios within existing studios and
reconfiguring equipment in the mechanical plenum. The existing 16’–0” high studios are optimized by capturing most of the volume of the deep mechanical plenum above the ceiling and reorganizing ductwork to produce sectional depth for stacked studios. These smaller nesting studios get structural, electrical, and mechanical sustenance from their host. Three steel beams bridge the load into the building’s structure, allowing the new studios to float. Light and views are borrowed from the existing clerestory windows through floor–to–ceiling acoustic glass periphery walls. The two sets of stacked studios are connected by a mezzanine lounge. Its liquid crystal sidewalls can be switched on and off from translucent to transparent at the discretion of instructors to allow or deny parents and visitors visual access to the spaces.