Best Starchitect-Built Theaters

Renowned architects with an eye for the arts are behind some of the most beautiful—and functional—theaters in the world.

Tim Hursley
OF 10

The Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri

At the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, you’ll find the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Its architect, Moshe Safdie, has described the theater as “festive and exuberant. The three balconies envelop the hall in a horseshoe-like enclosure. Each balcony is broken down into a series of steps cascading from the center rear balcony to the individual boxes on either side of the stage. The balcony balustrades are a contemporary reinterpretation of the gilded, glittering, candle-lit balconies of 18th- and 19th-century theaters.” Safdie’s design also features a series of murals on the theater’s acoustical structures by students at the Kansas City Art Institute. These create an overall effect of “a dynamic mural, rich in reds, greens, blues and yellows, fused into the geometry of the room,” Safdie explains. 1601 Broadway; 816-994-7200; kauffmancenter.org.