Friday, September 17, 2010

An evening at the Kennedy Center

Last night at the Kennedy Center, I couldn't help but think how the building has grown on me in the last 8 years since I've moved to DC. When I moved here I thought it was the most hideous building in Washington, but now, I sorta like it! I've ALWAYS loved these Lobmeyr fixtures in the opera house, above. They look like jewelry in a box against all of that red velvet.
I also found out that the gold and red curtain at the stage, with its distinctive pattern, was a gift from Japan. First cherry blossoms, and then a 5 story tall gold curtain; Japan has been good to DC!
The Grand Foyer is enormous, but the scale of the architecture is so large that one doesn't even notice. Apparently it's one of the largest rooms in the world and I heard the Washington Monument would fit in here laying down with room to spare; really just insane!
Again, great glamorous mid-century chandeliers are really the jewels of the room. Generally I prefer a more classical space for concert venue, but maybe this modernism stuff isn't so bad?
all photos taken with my (unincredible) droid incredible phone.

17 comments:

David Toms said...

That foyer and those chandliers look magnificent. I love spaces like that. Going to have check out the exterior

ArchitectDesign™ said...

David,I linked to a post I wrote 2years ago about the exterior of the building within the first sentence -check it out!

pve design said...

Wonderful open spaces and stages dedicated to those who left an indelible mark in our memory need what I like to call "bling" - I think the mid-century did these sorts of spaces so timeless, yet also with an edge.
That is what I love most.
pve

Renee Finberg said...

funny think , last night....
i was just watching a special on pbs that was filmed at the
kennedy center.
and now i know what the place looks like inside.
thanks love xxx

Woody said...

I went to the Kennedy Center five years ago when I traveled to DC looking at colleges. It was the most memorable non-monument highlight from that whirlwind tour!

La Petite Gallery said...

You took those great photo's with a phone. Awesom. SO what did you
see, an opera? Lucky you..

yvonne

Anonymous said...

I love the Kennedy Center - it is so of its time - whenever I walk through the lobby I sing the theme song to "The Love Boat . . . " in admiration. KDM

ArchitectDesign™ said...

La Petite, yes, saw Verdi's 'A masked ball' -which was somewhat underwhelming I felt -but the sets were really cool: swedish.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I remember thinking what a weird, scary building when I first saw it as a teen. But, as an adult I have come to appreciate it's beauty inside and out!

Mel said...

Maybe you just needed to stop expecting it to be something it's not and embrace it for what it is.

Karena said...

Stefan,

It is indeed stunning and of course the perfect venue for the Opera.

Karena
Art by Karena

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Stefan, it's so interesting that you mention cherry blossoms in conjunction with the gift of the curtains because my first take on the photo of the light fixtures was that they looked like cherry blossoms.

Mark

Thomas at My Porch said...

I think the KC as a whole is great, and the Opera House is fabulous. But the Concert Hall is terrible. Although it had its challenges back before they changed the look of it in the mid-90s, it looked a whole lot better than it does now. Again, I'm speaking solely of the Concert Hall. Unlike the Opera House renovation which left the original design largely intact, the Concert Hall was given an update that dated itself very quickly and looks more tired today than the 25 year old design it replaced. I know they did a lot of the changes to improve acoustics, but the redesign also feels like they had limited funds and seemed to think that adding more colors and textures and gee gaws would somehow make it look richer. It didn't. It just looks tacky. As for the Opera House, the chandeliers are so fantastic. I love them.

And by the way, one of the commenters above remarks that it was his favorite non-monument in DC. In fact, the KC is actually officially a monument/memorial in the same way the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington are. It's just that this one has a few more uses than the others.

The Ancient said...

When I moved here I thought it was the most hideous building in Washington, but now ...

Stefan --

You were right the first time -- it's hideous. An enormous, poorly-proportioned, marble-clad warehouse
washed up the Potomac by some long-forgotten hurricane. If it had been named for Nixon, people would see it as the monstrosity it is. Instead ...

(As you are a very young person, I must warn you that you may be showing signs of a very common Washington disease, commonly known as "going native." This disease is known to affect formerly honest legislators, once public-spirited lobbyists, and occasionally competent plumbers. They lose their edge, their discernment, and ultimately their good judgment as they slowly slip over to the Dark Side, giving our fair city the well-deserved reputation it has throughout the country.

(So stick with your original, untainted opinions. They were right!)

Cheers, etc.

Austen Redman said...

Isn't the architect Durrel-Stone? He was the architect of 1 Columbus circle - the lolly-pop building in New York which Tom Wolfe praised in "From Bauhaus to Our House" - then it was done over with modern glass facades.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Austen, yes -he was the architect here. Not sure of his involvement with all of the interiors really though, they sounded a bit piecemeal.

Janet said...

So glad you had a good evening! We toasted you over our new cheese dome. xo