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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Introducing the Richard B. Fisher Building

A rendering of the BAM Richard B. Fisher Building, designed by
H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture and opening in the
Fall of 2012
Before you can do anything with theater, film, music, dance, and the like, you have to have a place to put them. What’s great is when those places come with compelling stories of their own. That’s typically been the case with BAM, whose buildings have historically had a flair for the dramatic.

There’s the original building on Montague Street, mentioned below, whose spectacular demise in what the Times at the time called a “seething sea of flame” led to the construction of the current Beaux Arts gem on Lafayette. And that once-wayward vaudeville and movie house known as the Majestic Theater (later, the Harvey Theater), all but left to rot until director Peter Brook’s Mahabharata came into town? A book could be written on it alone. Leave it to Sharon to tell these stories, but suffice it to say that BAM’s buildings are as much characters as mere containers. And now we’re adding another.

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2012, the BAM Richard B. Fisher building (depicted above) will be an environmentally-friendly, multi-use community and arts center located right behind the opera house at 321 Ashland Place. That’s the old Salvation Army building location, for all of you Fort Greene originals. Assuming BAM has the “seething seas of flames” out of its system, the script looks good: affordable rehearsal and performance spaces for local artists, culturally diverse programs for families and kids, a professional development arts management program, an intimate 250-seat theater to showcase both up & coming and renowned artists, and a green roof, among other things. I'll be discussing all these things—the green roof, in particular—in future posts, so check back often.


  1. Why does BAM never credit its architects? Who designed this building?

  2. Apologies (to you and the architects!) for the omission. The building was designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Here's a link to more renderings from their portfolio:

  3. Leopold Eidlitz designed the original building on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights in 1859. The Harvey Theatre, named for Harvey Lichtenstein in 1999, was originally know as the Majestic Theater designed in 1904 by J. B. McElfatrick. In 1987 the Majestic was renamed the BAM Majestic renovated by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates . Finally the architects for The Peter Jay Sharp Opera House were Henry B. Herts & Hugh Tallant. There have been many alterations to the buildings over the past 150 years-- feel free to contact the BAM Hamm Archives if you would like to dig deeper.

  4. I do hope BAM's administration will consider looping the theatres so that those who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants will be able to enjoy the wonderful productions, movies, shows of all kinds.