Kennedy Center looks to the future with opening of The Reach

This Sept. 5, 2019 photo shows a "crinkle concrete" wall made from formwork that is intended to diffuse sound inside the Justice Forum, a lecture hall at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, a man works onstage inside a studio at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, a worker makes preparations outside a building at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, an airplane flies over a building at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, stage manager Sean Corcoran works in a lounge at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
This Sept. 5, 2019 photo shows the Justice Forum, a lecture hall at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, a worker opens a door to the Skylight Stair at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, workers walk atop a green roof at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter walks at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, a worker walks past buildings at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter demonstrates a hands-on art installation at The Reach, an expansion of the Kennedy Center in Washington. The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the iconic performing arts complex and transform the relationships between audience and artist. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — The Kennedy Center is unveiling a massive new expansion designed to redefine the performing arts complex and transform the relationship between audience and artist.

The $250 million expansion, dubbed The Reach, will open on Saturday with a 16-day festival featuring hundreds of free performances. The 4.6-acre complex features a trio of interconnected white buildings filled with multi-purpose performance and rehearsal spaces.

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter says The Reach's facilities were designed to work as "the opposite of a concert hall."

Rutter said The Reach is meant to partially eliminate the division between artists and audience. Rehearsal and performance rooms feature giant windows and glass walls, allowing visitors to watch musicians and dancers in mid-rehearsal, while interactive facilities offer the chance to make their own art.

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