ShowBox at The Battery

With thoughtful design engineering and material studies of custom bent stainless panels, we fabricated and installed a public children's theater at The Battery. The design ensures safe use while amplifying the bold angular design of this multipurpose park amenity.

The custom stainless steel theater was designed by BKSK Architects for the larger playscape at The Battery in New York City. Emphasizing the integration of utility and design, the theater features a main proscenium that integrates a smaller puppet performance theater and back-of-house operations through cladded partitions and angular columns in this open-air pavilion. Due to the exposed nature of this structure which sits at the water’s edge of lower Manhattan, and the expectation for high public interaction, our project management team initiated various material and design studies to address varying safety conditions and utility applications.

To ensure the cladding’s successful performance, we reinforced the textured stainless steel Rimex panels with Coosa (or nautical fiberglass) backer panels with exterior grade adhesive to mitigate any sonic distractions caused by impact or flexing to the thin sheet metal. The stainless steel structure was developed by our team for its corrosion resistance as well as its compatibility with the stainless steel Rimex panels chosen by the architect. Our project management team detailed the system in a modular fashion to accelerate site erection and sequenced the project's specific panel patterning.

Because the theater is expected to cater to youth programs and frequent visitors, safety was a main priority when considering the angular design and panel reveals. We developed and achieved challenging ⅛” radius bends in the design so that sharp panel terminations did not occur at corner conditions. Tight reveals were accommodated and meticulously detailed by our team during installation to enhance safety for public interaction.

The proscenium posed interesting design challenges due to the panel layout on the pitched angled façade. Due to the use of triangular panel shapes, there were several conditions where 3 to 5 panel corners met at one point. This posed particular challenges for installation accuracy as well as safety due to the sharp edges. Our project design team reimagined these junctions with the architects' original design intent in mind, to create safer and aesthetically pleasing details that strengthen the theater’s linear panel design.

A flexible stainless steel mesh was installed by our team as a theatrical curtain in the proscenium portal. Because the mesh product is not usually used for curtain applications, our project management team developed a sliding track system for comfortable use as well as accounting for structural fixture points for stage crew lighting.

Elevated behind the proscenium is a catwalk that serves multiple purposes for programming and structure. The catwalk provides a workspace for stage crew personnel, and serves as an integral structural component for the theater’s open design. A ladder, which we detailed to be concealed into one of the building’s structural columns with a custom door panel, was fabricated by our team for efficient catwalk access. Additionally, our team designed and coordinated the fabrication and installation of a custom breaker box for electrical needs that discreetly integrates into the stainless steel cladding.

The puppet theater that we fabricated is another interactive feature that is integrated into the theater design. Detailed into one of the lower structural partitions that supports a corner of the pavilion, we accommodated a window portal with back-of-house amenities for hanging theatrical tools and puppets.

By considering both design and insightful implementation, our team was able to detail, fabricate and install a public park facility that will sustain functionality as an exterior metal structure, as well as sensitively tend to the needs of community exchange.


The Battery Conservancy


BKSK Architects


New York, NY