Friday, February 26, 2010


A couple of news items before we continue.

First of all, there's yet another Paul Rudolph building at risk. This time it's the exceptionally cool John W. Chorley Elementary School in Middletown, NY. It seems like every time I turn around, somebody's trying to tear down another one of his buildings. Like I've said before, it's not as if any one of these structures is individually important. It's that I'd hate for the day to come when there's a renewed interest in late Modernism, only to discover there's none of it left.

For something a bit more pleasant, Zaha Hadid has designed this incredible project, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park in Korea.

--Image courtesy e-architect.
It will have a design museum, library, and education facilities, with a park on top of it. Like all of her work, it looks ridiculously hip.

Perhaps the most exciting of all, however is the upcoming collaboration between New York City Ballet and Santiago Calatrava for their program, "Architecture of Dance." This coming spring, NYC Ballet is premiering ballets by Melissa Barak, Mauro Bigonzetti, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Benjamin Millepied (can you think of a better name for a choreographer than "millipede?"), and Peter Martins. I actually bumped into Martins on the street the other day and told him what a true inspiration his company has been to me. He seemed flattered and pleased to hear it. But what a freaking line-up! I mean, these are pretty much all the greatest choreographers working at the moment.

Point being, Calatrava is designing sets for the Barak, Bigonzetti, Wheeldon, Millepied, and the Martins ballets. I can't imagine anything more incredible: my favorite company in Lincoln Center (don't tell anyone), performing brand new work by the best living choreographers, in my favorite building in Lincoln Center, by one of my favorite deceased architects, with sets by one of the greatest living architects.

--Valencia Opera House photo courtesy Modern Arhitecture.
It just doesn't get any better. I can't possibly afford to see all seven of these performances, but I do hope to sneak in to see some dress rehearsals, luck permitting. I'll be sure to comment on the sets here as soon as I see them.

On top of it all, par for the course of their high quality of programming, the 92nd Street Y is hosting a talk with Calatrava (very likely as a result of this collaboration, as well as the controversy surrounding the World Trade Center transportation hub), on March 18th. It should be fantastic, and I really can't wait. [EDIT: It turns out that, unfortunately, this event has been postponed to some unknown later date, possibly in the fall. I'll update as soon as I have more information.]

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