Just one year shy of the 50th anniversary of its New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) can celebrate another milestone at this year's cinema fest, which takes place from September 30 through October 16. In addition to presenting films by such directors as Pedro Almod'var, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Lars von Trier, and Wim Wenders, the FSLC is showcasing the state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, recently completed by architect David Rockwell and his firm.

Part of the greater Lincoln Center revitalization, the 17,500-square-foot project is located at street level, under the Lincoln Restaurant Pavilion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and FXFOWLE, and pushes deep into the campus infrastructure beneath the Milstein Pool and Terrace and above the mechanical plant. The existing 1960s site had contained a garage and underutilized office spaces.

The prominent frontage on West Sixty-fifth Street provides the community-friendly access that FSLC needs to grow. For years, the 42-year-old group had been limited to screenings and programs at one venue'the excellent but secluded 244-seat Walter Reade Theater, behind the Juilliard School'with occasional events at Alice Tully and Avery Fisher halls. The challenge, recalls Rockwell, was to carve out an area that was high enough for screening rooms with perfect sight lines and acoustics.

Working closely with the design and core-and-shell teams at DS+R and FXFOWLE, as well as acoustical consultant JaffeHolden, Rockwell and his crew burrowed south, away from the street, clearing the mechanical space and excavating behind it to create two sound-isolated screening rooms that share a rear projection booth: the 144-seat Francesca Beale and the 87-seat Howard Gilman theaters. Ever conscious of the primary objective'to make this a world-class film experience'Rockwell deftly integrated technical with decorative elements, keeping the theater interiors visually quiet with a dark taupe color palette. Softly pleated perforated-steel walls absorb sound and flow into the vestibule to further buffer outside noise. Roomy custom seats are comfortable enough to enjoy the four-and-a-half-hour Mysteries of Lisbon, by Raoul Ruiz. And when the LED-backlit pilasters that frame the screens fade to black, the architecture disappears.

By contrast, the remainder of the film center is open, flexible, and bright, with polished concrete floors and exposed columns and ductwork'an homage to the roots of the space, says Rockwell. The entrance, too, is transparent. Here the architects fashioned an angular glazed 'marquee' in vivid orange that mimics the roofline of DS+R's restaurant pavilion above and beckons visitors to enter across a theatrical LED carpet.

Rockwell and his team split the house into public and programmatic areas with a smart, sit-down caf' and a diminutive film shop, for patrons and passersby, tucked to either side of the lobby. A wood-lined amphitheater on a floating slab navigates the acoustically problematic mechanical room below. Central to the scheme, it backs onto the projection booth and serves as a transition between the lively front-of-house and rear screening zone. Although less quiet than the theaters, this congenial spot has a 152-inch plasma screen and cushion-topped bleachers that facilitate director chats, documentaries, and previews. 'It's a very 'curatable' space that can change based on the Film Society's needs,' says Rockwell. To maintain this core room's visibility, he enclosed it with partially frosted glass side walls and doors that flank a 16-foot-wide garage-style portal, which can be a fourth wall when closed.

Such thoughtful design strategies pay off. The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center has been busy, with all three theaters in use since opening in June. Now, says FSLC executive director Rose Kuo, 'it's allowing us to host more films at the New York Film Festival. It's a great success and signifies a new era in our history.'



Film Society of Lincoln Center

Architect and Designer:
Rockwell Group
5 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-463-0334
Fax: 212-463-0335

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Core & Shell Architect:
Diller Scofidio + Renfro / FXFOWLE
New York, NY

Construction Manager
Yorke Construction
New York, NY



Structural/Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing/Sprinkler Engineer:
New York, NY

Boyce Nemec Designs
Norfolk, CT

Theater Consultant:
Fisher Dachs Associates
New York, NY

Norwalk, CT

Focus Lighting
New York, NY

Environmental Graphics:
New York, NY

Food Service:
YuiDesign Inc.
Takoma Park, MD

New York, NY

Vertical Transportation:
VDA Associates
Livingston, NJ

Security Systems:
Louisville, KY

Construction Specifications Inc.
Morganville, NJ

Dept. of Buildings Expediter:
Jerome S. Gillman
New York, NY



© Albert Večerka / Esto


CAD system, project management, or other software used:




Structural system
Cast-in-place Concrete and Steel Frame

W&W Glass
New York, NY

Amphitheater glass Vivigraphix wall panels:
Pittsburgh, PA

Sliding glass partition:
Millersville, MD

Projection booth Amiran low-iron glass:
SCHOTT North America
Elmsford, NY

Metal doors:
North Bergen, NJ

Fire-rated glass doors:
Kirkland, WA

Amphitheater glass doors:
VividGlass / W&W

Bellport, NY

Accordion acoustical door:
KwikWall / Contemporary Wall Systems
East Hanover, NJ

Amphitheater garage door:
Belu Tec
Lingen, Germany

Corbin Russwin


Exit devices:
Von Duprin

Security devices:

Amphitheater glass door hardware:

Interior finishes
Theater fabric-wrapped acoustical ceilings and walls:
Conwed Designscape
Ladysmith, WI
(fabric: Maharam, Milestone)

Theater Baswaphon acoustical plaster ceiling:
Sound Solutions
Willoughby, Ohio

Sound Silencer TAC Panels (exposed waffle slab):
Acoustical Surfaces Inc.
Chaska, MN

Pantry Clima-Plus acoustical ceiling:
Chicago, IL

Theater pleated acoustical perforated metal wall panels:
Gage Metals
Sparta, WI
(Echo Eliminator acoustical infill: Acoustical Surfaces Inc.)

Amphitheater wood wall and ceiling panels:
Toronto, Ontario

Theater backlit wood/acrylic pilasters:
Toronto, Ontario

Café custom curved wood panels:
Aswoon – Susan Wood
Brooklyn, NY

Paints and stains:
Benjamin Moore
(Evergreene Architectural Arts
New York, NY)

ArmourColor – Perlata lobby wall paint:
Evergreen Architectural Arts

Montavano polished plaster lobby ceiling:
Evergreene Architectural Arts

Stitched wall covering:
Maya Romanoff
New York, NY

Café wall covering:
New York, NY

Café wood paneling:
Seetin Design
Brooklyn, NY

Restroom Viscaya glass mosaic wall tile:
Nemo Tile
New York, NY

Restroom countertops:
Ice Stone
Brooklyn, NY

Plastic laminate:
Abet Laminati
Englewood, NJ

Entry vestibule Pietra-Luna granite:
Port Morris Tile & Marble
Bronx, NY

Concrete flooring:
Get Real Surfaces
New York, NY

Pre-cast lobby stair treads:
San Clemente, CA

Custom pattern broadloom carpet:
Milliken Carpet
New York, NY

Amphitheater wood flooring:
Lanes Flooring
New York, NY

Pantry quarry tile:
New York, NY

Restroom Bionic Collection ceramic floor tile
Nemo Tile
New York, NY

Resilient flooring – projection booth:
Armstrong Flooring
Lancaster, PA

Custom railings:
SRS Metals
Metuchen, NJ

Theater seating:
Series Seating
Miami, FL / Bogota, Columbia

Custom amphitheater seating:
Toronto, Ontario
Rivervale, NJ)

Café banquettes:
Seetin Design
Brooklyn, NY

Café chairs:
Mark White Inc.
Portland, ME

Café stools:
New York, NY

Café tables:
Seetin Design
Brooklyn, NY

CSL, Edison Price, Lightolier, RSA

Interior ambient lighting:
IO Lighting, MP Lighting, Design Plan, Bega, Energie

Café custom lighting:
New York, NY
(shade: MegaBulb – Sofie Refer)

Café – Modo chandelier:
Design Within Reach (Jason Miller)
New York, NY

Track lighting:

House lighting dimming system:
ETC – Unison
Middleton, WI

HandiLift elevator Inc.
Carlstadt, NY

Drinking fountains:
Oak Brook, IL

Tom’s River, NJ

Self-Generating Eco-Power Sensor Faucets:
Tom’s River, NJ

Kohler, WI

Kitchen Equipment
Commercial Kitchen Design, Inc.
Brooklyn, NY

Energy management or building automation system:
Extension of existing Central Mechanical Plant BACnet BMS network

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
Amphitheater 152” plasma screen:

Film Center film projection and audio/visual installation:
North American Theatrix
Southington, CT

Screen and motorized masking installation:
Gallery Seventeen Interiors
Nanuet, NY

Featured equipment:
Kinoton 35/16mm projectors, Schneider lenses, Barco digital projectors, Stewart screens, Dolby sound and 3D, Crestron controls, and JBL speakers       

Additional projection & audio/visual equipment suppliers:
Panasonic, Samsung, Sennheiser, Middle Atlantic, Marshall, QSC, Kramer, Christie, Sony, Kelmar, Neumade, Chain Track, Tannoy, Clear-Com, Ensemble Designs