Perelman Performing Arts Center

A bespoke virtual reality and web based application to digitally test and prototype theater formats in a digital twin of this iconic new venue.
Modern, minimalist cuboid building clad in book-matched marble, glass skyscrapers in rear

Project information

Client PAC NYC
Location New York, NY, USA
Completed 2023
Services Digital Studio 3D modeling Custom application building VR sightlines

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC) opened in September 2023 and brings theater, music, dance, and film to the World Trade Center campus.

A key component of the 2003 Master Plan developed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to rebuild the 16-acre World Trade Center campus.

Charcoalblue worked closely with the client team, REX, and the entire design team to detail the performance, public, and support spaces. The performance space offers highly flexible layouts in three theater spaces, each functions brilliantly as a standalone theatre, but can also be combined to create dozens of possible configurations, each with limitless opportunity for seating arrangements ranging from 99 to 1200 seats.

Start screen reading The Perelman Center Theatre Configuration Explorer
App screens headed Layouts, Configurations and Information with various user interface elements

Whilst the masterful design of the venue features motorized lifts, moveable acoustic walls and configurable seating towers to enable formats to be interchanged quickly - there is still a high degree of pre-planning that PAC NYC need to consider for a given production and their programming.

This is where Digital Studio and our work developing this virtual prototype comes in. The task and inspiration from Charcoalblue - create a digital twin environment of the space that allowed PAC NYC to study theater sightlines in VR and from a PC screen across the theater formats.

Firstly with our in depth understanding of the venues configurations we created an easy to use interface to allow a format to be selected and explored.

A CGI model of a theatre with a runway-style stage

With our links to the project design and contractor team we were able to utilize the project Revit model information and adapt it for this project before any laser scanning could be viable.

We also provided a user interface and options to be able to toggle between venue settings, such as stage sizes, leaning sightline positions, acoustic banners and moveable elements in the room such as high level catwalks. As well as provide a quick information display to show the venue floor plan and key information such as overall seating capacity.

App interface showing CGI model of theatre seating and various user interface elements

The application currently features over 50 different theater configurations each with switchable elements. The operational value this tool provides the PAC NYC team is to be able to talk through and help external teams quickly visualize the space and its many possible configurations. Easily and accurately checking sighlines along the way, and ultimately speeding up coordination and collaboration during production planning.

CGI image of theatre stage and seating showing the view from a specific seat

With initial delivery of the virtual tool completed as the building opened this year, we’re excited to evolve the application even further and continue work with PAC NYC on new features and production prototyping possibilities.

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