By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Kimmel Center reopened its Dorrance Hamilton Rooftop Garden today, after more than $6 million in renovations.

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The state-of-the-art, 6,200-square-foot space now sits atop the Perelman Theatre like a glass box, featuring an 800-square-foot catering pantry for “Iron Chef” Jose Garces of Food Network fame (who is contracted as the exclusive caterer), and two porch areas with views of the Kimmel Center’s 150-foot-high glass barrel roof.

“Last year, we set the record up here — it was 125 degrees,” recalls Kimmel Center vice president of operations David Thiele.

Thiele says the garden, before it got its climate-controlled enclosure, was not usable from May through October due to the heat in the upper reaches of the atrium, and could only be used at times when the orchestra was not performing since crowd noise from the garden could be heard in both the Perelman Theatre and Verizon Hall.

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He says the renovation solves both those problems.

“The main features are glass along the sides that is triple-paned, so it keeps sound out.  The glass above our heads is electro-chromic.  It changes from clear to opaque via an electric current, so it acts as a way for us to shade the room and reduce the solar gain from sunlight.”

Thiele says the room seats about 200 people and will be used for weddings and other private functions.  For more information go to


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