New Does not Necessarily Mean Improved
In business, go with what works
Dec. 6, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 53
Kimmel Suit Cites Architect
The center says delays upped costs by millions
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has sued its internationally acclaimed architect in U.S. District Court, accusing Rafael Viñoly Architects of "deficient and defective design work" and delays that boosted the project's final cost ... " This action arises from an architect who had a grand vision but was unable to convert that vision into reality, causing the owner to incur significant additional expenses to correct and overcome the architect's errors and delays," says the suit, filed Wednesday.
--Peter Dobrin and John Shiffman, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 29, 2005
The new Kimmel Center towers over Philadelphia's South Broad Street with a glass roof reminiscent of a WWII Quonset Hut--that cheap design for hangars, M*A*S*H-style hospitals and barracks.
The centerpiece--Verizon Hall, new home of the Philadelphia Orchestra--is glowingly described by architect Rafael Viñoly as a "sinuous form based on the shape of a cello. Surfaces are covered in mahogany, adding to the image of a finely crafted musical instrument."
My wife, Peggy, and I went to an opening night performance and sat dead center in the orchestra section just beneath the overhang of the first tier.
Timpanist Don Liuzzi, a regal-looking fellow in white tie, was warming up from his high seat at the back of the stage. His drum sound bounced off the stage right mahogany wall and into my left ear. My right ear heard nothing. During the concert, the orchestra frequently overpowered cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who at times looked as though he was doing pantomime.
Several days later, I ran into Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Peter Dobrin and voiced my reservations about the Kimmel sound. He basically pooh-poohed me. So I tucked my tail between my legs and betook my uneducated ears and myself home and made a martini, ice cold and very dry.