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Vi±oly's £183m Philadelphia arts centre set to open doors

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Raphael Vi±oly's Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, US, will open to the public next month. The $265 million (£183 million) centre will be home to the Philadelphia Orchestra and five other performing arts companies, and will accommodate touring productions.

The 40,000m 2building includes the 2,500-seat Verizon orchestra hall, the flexible 650-seat Perelman recital theatre, a restaurant, cafe, gift shop and Commonwealth Plaza civic space.

The centre aims to evoke the image of 'two jewels in a glass case'. Verizon Hall, with its polygonal exterior, and Perelman Theatre, with its curved facade, are enclosed within a perimeter structure.

The spaces between and around the two buildings form an indoor plaza, top-lit by day through an immense barrel vault roof of folded plate glass.

The 'sinuous' form of the hall is based on the cello; surfaces are covered in mahogany, adding to the image of a 'finely crafted musical instrument'.

By contrast, the Perelman theatre is a metal-clad flexible space within the orthogonal form of a cube. A turntable stage allows the theatre to be transformed from conventional stage to arena.

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