The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, as seen looking south. Tammy Ljungblad | File photo

Website names Kauffman Center one of 21 most spectacular theaters in U.S.

When Curbed, a website that covers real estate, interior design and architecture, considered the architectural elements that make cities great, it zoomed in on theaters.

It named 21 of the most spectacular in the United States, buildings that underscore one belief: “Now — more than ever — the arts matter.”

The iconic Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in September 2011, made the list.

“As the backbone of urban culture, theaters in the United States have been gathering places for centuries,” writes Curbed.

“From operas to ballets to movies, the arts required buildings that were as beautiful as the performances they housed. Early 19th-century theaters were temples to ornamentation, clad in over-the-top chandeliers, heavy drapes, and with a penchant for gold.

“Today, the theater remains a crucial part of a city’s lifeblood, even as the types of performing arts have expanded. Modern theaters are technological marvels, pairing innovative architecture with state-of-the-art acoustics and video programming.”

The 21 theaters Curbed tagged as “most spectacular” include Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, The Egg in Albany, N.Y. and the Writers Theatre in Chicago.


It notes the shell-like design of the Kauffman Center created by architect Moshe Safdie.

On its fifth birthday, Kauffman Center is a Kansas City success story

“Safdie clad the shells in stainless-steel panels and connected the two venues with a 20-meter-high, glass-walled atrium that is anchored to the ground with steel cables,” Curbed writes. “The glass facade also features panoramic views of Kansas City.”

The Kauffman Center hosts a virtual tour of the building on its website.