Performing arts center selects architectural team
NEW YORK (AP) _ Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has selected an architectural team of six renowned firms to redesign its 6.5 acres of public space.
Five New York firms and one from Philadelphia were chosen following a five-month international competition, Lincoln Center announced Monday.
They will begin by transforming 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue into Lincoln Center's "Main Street," making it more pedestrian friendly, opening up the campus to the surrounding community, and creating lively new street-level entrances, the center said.
Construction is expected to begin 2004.
The open space architectural team comprises of Diller + Scofidio, as the master planner, in association with Fox & Fowle Architects and Cooper Robertson & Partners. L'Observatoire International will serve as lighting designer and Olin Partnership as landscape designer. Also joining the team is 2 X 4, Inc., a collaborative studio of graphic designers.
"We have specifically chosen public spaces as an important part of our overall redevelopment process because everyone who works at and visits Lincoln Center will benefit from this design," said Lincoln Center Chairman Bruce Crawford.
The open spaces will be redesigned to fit with the $1.2 billion, 10-year redevelopment master plan for the center's 16-acre complex.
The master plan includes the rebuilding of the center's nine major cultural facilities, including the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, and will be done in phases so performances can continue uninterrupted.
Only Avery Fisher Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic, will close because it will either be rebuilt or undergo major reconstruction. A temporary music hall will be found for the Philharmonic.
The firms selected for the open space redesign and their past projects are:
_Diller & Scofidio, a New York firm that fuses architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. Its major projects include the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the proposed Museum of Art & Technology in New York.
_Cooper Robertson & Partners, a New York firm whose works include Battery Park City in New York, the Henry Moore Sculpture Garden in Kansas City and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
_Fox & Fowle Architects, a New York-based interior design and planning firm whose major projects include the Conde Nast and the Reuters buildings in Times Square and the American Craft Museum in New York.
_Olin Partnership, a Philadelphia-based architectural landscaper whose projects include Bryant Park and Battery Park City in New York, the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Yale's Old Campus.
_L'Observatoire International, Inc., a New York-based firm, whose public space designs include the Disney Concert Hall, the Bard College Center for the Performing Arts, the Louvre Museum and the Planetarium Exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History. It is currently working with Olin Partnership on the redesign of Columbus Circle in New York.
_2 X 4, Inc., New York-based graphic designers who have created projects for the Museum of Modern Art, Second Stage Theater in New York and the Mattin Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
I'm sure there were some preliminary plans in the architectural competition, but since they just picked a new design team from the finalists, a new design will have to wait.
Lincoln Center Rethinks 65th Street
By ROBIN POGREBIN
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts plans to start work next year on the transformation of West 65th Street into a bright, open boulevard of marquees, even though it has yet to raise any money for that project or any other part of its planned $1.2 billion redevelopment.
The renovation of West 65th Street will turn the block into a central artery of Lincoln Center and include new entrances for the Juilliard School; Lincoln Center Theater; Alice Tully Hall, where the Chamber Music Society and other Lincoln Center groups perform; and the Walter Reade Theater, home to the Film Society.
The 65th Street work will also be affected by what happens to Avery Fisher Hall, home to the New York Philharmonic, which has yet to decide how to address its poor acoustics. Center officials initially seemed to be leaning toward razing the building and starting from scratch, but now they appear to be pulling back to save money, favoring an interior overhaul that would leave the building intact. A renovation is estimated to cost half as much as a projected $325 million reconstruction.
Reynold Levy, the president of Lincoln Center, said the center had asked two design firms — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Norman Foster — to submit proposals by May for a total renovation of Avery Fisher. "There had been the assumption that we could not make the aesthetic and acoustical changes we wanted other than by building a new hall," Mr. Levy said. "We have re-examined the program and are coming up with alternatives that we hope will be very exciting and will capture a great deal of what we wanted to achieve."
At the same time, Mr. Levy emphasized, "these are not minor fixes." The decision is complicated by concerns on the part of the Fisher family about keeping its name on the concert hall. Mr. Levy said Lincoln Center had been meeting regularly with the family.
The center announced a design team yesterday for its public spaces, to be led by Diller & Scofidio, in association with Fox & Fowle Architects, Cooper Robertson & Partners as planners, L'Observatoire as lighting designers, Olin Partnership as landscape architects, and 2 4 as graphic designers. "We're thrilled by having this combination of edgy new thinking about Lincoln Center," Mr. Levy said.
The design team's first project will be West 65th Street, the largest aspect of the $150 million redesign of the public areas and the first step in its effort to upgrade its buildings and grounds. Although the redevelopment has been estimated to cost $1.2 billion, Bruce Crawford, Lincoln Center chairman, has said that the figure could be revised downward, and that the institution was taking the project one step at a time.
Given the difficult fund-raising climate and city budget cuts, many arts executives are skeptical that Lincoln Center will be able to proceed with its redevelopment without scaling it back considerably.
The design team for the public spaces was selected after a five-month competition by a panel of board members drawn from the 11 Lincoln Center institutions that are participating in the redevelopment.
Diller & Scofidio, led by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, who are married, is about to have a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, opening March 1. The team, artists as well as architects, has recently begun to receive major commissions, like the $37 million Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology in Manhattan.
Mr. Crawford said he was excited by the design choice. "They are really artist architects," he said. "The areas surrounding our buildings — I think you could call them outdoor stages. And we're going to design them to bring those stages to life."
Lincoln Center has long been criticized for being structurally closed off to the surrounding community, particularly the housing developments on Amsterdam Avenue. The 65th Street plan calls for opening the block between Broadway and Amsterdam, making it into a more pedestrian-friendly stretch that invites the neighborhood in with lively entrances for the seven Lincoln Center constituents and 12 performance spaces on the street.
The project will eliminate the large bridge over the street, substituting a new, narrower footbridge. The project will also feature technologically sophisticated signs with information about Lincoln Center events; the buildings will be clearly identified and transparent, allowing passers-by to look in at classes and other activities; and there will be a sweeping staircase into the plaza.
Construction is expected to start next year. Mr. Levy said that fund-raising had yet to begin and that he would be looking for large lead gifts. Also under the 65th Street plan, the Film Society would get two additional theaters, one, with 150 seats, where successful films could be extended, the other with 75 seats.
Lincoln Center also has yet to resolve the future of New York City Opera. The troupe is expected to leave the New York State Theater, which it shares with the New York City Ballet, and to be part of a new cultural center at the former World Trade Center site. "We're still very anxious and excited about the prospect," said Irwin Schneiderman, chairman of City Opera.
But given the slow progress of decisions about downtown and the difficulty of raising money for a new building in this economy, City Opera will probably stay put for some time. "I think things are headed nowhere," said Robert Wilson, who has pledged $50 million toward a new home for the opera outside Lincoln Center.
From Architectural Record
Foster wins Lincoln Center redesign competition
March 4, 2003
Lord Norman Foster’s firm, Foster and Partners, has won the international design competition to redesign Avery Fisher Hall, the New York Philharmonic’s home at Lincoln Center in New York City. The other finalists in the competition were Rafael Moneo and the team of Richard Meier and Arata Isozaki.
The Lincoln Center’s board has not yet decided whether to build a new auditorium within the existing shell of the building or to build a completely new hall. Avery Fisher Hall opened as Philharmonic Hall in 1962, and was designed by Max Abramovitz. The hall, which seats 2,738, has been plagued by accusations of bad acoustics.
Nice, I really like a lot of his work. *Still hoping his WTC towers are built SOMEWHERE in NYC. *Maybe at the WTC site - crazy, I know.
well, Foster's WTC has been compared to the Hearst Magazine Tower.
I still think we should try to get a message to Bloomberg, Pataki, LMDC, Libeskind and Foster to replace office towers 3 & 4 on Libeskind's plan with Foster's kiss towers! *It would be sensational! *
I think Foster's towers are very complimentary w/ Libeskind's crystal towers... *Imagine the Garden tower/crystal tower 1, tower 2, tower 5 with Foster's towers as 3 & 4. * WOW....
yeah, that sure would be great. Foster's Towers we're really great, IMO. It gave us the iconic Twin Tower look while being completly different then the late WTC. Is there any possibility that the Foster Tower could still be built or is it really over?
You know, not every thread has to mutate into an "if the WTC was done in this way it would be slick" thread.
I hope this prestigious commission will be a bit of a consolation to Foster.
May 8, 2003
Lincoln Center Proceeds, Modestly
By ROBIN POGREBIN
When it was first announced in 1999, Lincoln Center's redevelopment was to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years and radically transform the campus. The architect Frank Gehry devised a glass atrium over the fountain plaza. There was talk of a new home for the New York City Opera in Damrosch Park.
Now the City Opera has decided to move downtown. Avery Fisher Hall is likely to be renovated rather than rebuilt. New York City, in perilous fiscal straits, appears unlikely to be able to fulfill the $240 million pledge that Rudolph W. Giuliani made for the project when he was mayor. The private sector is feeling the economic pinch before fund-raising has even begun.
What's left of the redevelopment project? What part of it can Lincoln Center hope to accomplish?
With the economic downturn, all the grand plans now seem like pipe dreams. The 11 private and public groups involved in the redevelopment have been forced to reassess. New management has come in at the top — Bruce Crawford as chairman and Reynold Levy as president — arriving in the wake of internecine tensions that had slowed the project.
The plan looks decidedly more modest today, and less glamorous. The center is taking the project step by step now, rather than attempting a transformation all at once. Mr. Crawford said he expected it to cost $500 million to $800 million, half of what was originally projected. Its most solid feature right now is turning West 65th Street into the main artery of the performing arts center, a project that together with Lincoln Center's other public spaces is expected to cost $150 million. It is to begin in June 2004.
Many of those involved in the project say that Peter M. Lehrer, the construction executive who became chairman of the redevelopment project in September, is unhappy in the job, finding himself a builder who has not been able to build anything.
Mr. Crawford said the diminished scope of the project merely reflected the economic climate, just as the original plans were a child of the flush late 90's. "It was really a time when grand plans were prevalent everywhere," Mr. Crawford said. "Wish lists were de rigueur."
But he and Mr. Levy said the reconstruction would proceed, because it was essential.
"This is not what we would like to have; it is what is necessary," Mr. Crawford said. "These are not luxuries. We're looking at it today in that light." He continued: "Lincoln Center's theaters and public spaces have to be improved and maintained. You can't go decades without bringing them up to date."
The redevelopment still amounts to significant changes, Mr. Levy said, not merely nips and tucks. The new 65th Street, for example, is being redesigned by Diller & Scofidio, the contemporary architecture team. "I don't think you retain Diller & Scofidio to simply spruce up the existing place," Mr. Levy said.
Mr. Crawford has assembled working committees for each aspect of the project, with members from the center's 13 various constituent groups, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Juilliard School and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, represented on each one. Several smaller infrastructure projects are already under way, like the upgrading of the Met's stage wagons, which move scenery.
In February Lincoln Center created the post of executive director of the Campaign for Lincoln Center and gave it to Rosemarie Garipoli, who led similar drives for the New York Botanical Garden and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Once design plans are established, Mr. Crawford said, he planned to look for donations of $5 million or more to kick off the fund-raising.
By all accounts the atmosphere at Lincoln Center is considerably less contentious since Mr. Crawford and Mr. Levy came on board, replacing Beverly Sills and Gordon Davis. Almost to a person executives of the constituent groups described the new management team as effective, with Mr. Levy as the upbeat optimist and Mr. Crawford as the levelheaded realist.
That is not to say that Lincoln Center is free of internal politics. When a recent benefit was being planned to honor Beverly Sills's service as chairwoman of Lincoln Center, Ms. Sills insisted that $1 million of the money raised go toward the Metropolitan Opera, where she is now chairwoman. The move ruffled some feathers, given that the proceeds — an impressive $4.5 million — were originally intended for Lincoln Center Inc., the center's landlord, with some of the money earmarked for the redevelopment.
Because of the city's budget cutbacks, Mr. Giuliani's pledge of $240 million no longer seems realistic. Lincoln Center received an initial payment from the city of $24 million in December 2001. About $14 million of that money remained, Mr. Crawford said. The city has asked that Lincoln Center spend the money on actual building rather than planning. "This is tax-levy money," said Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner. "Some portion needs to be spent on tangible assets."
Lincoln Center has agreed to assume all planning costs as well as staffing the redevelopment and fund-raising. Lincoln Center will match the fund-raising of each constituent group, Mr. Levy said: 20 percent of the first $25 million raised and 15 percent of anything above $25 million.
Mr. Crawford said the city had promised $5 million a year over the next three years, with the contribution jumping to a projected $96 million in 2006, an unlikely number in the present economy.
Last summer Ms. Levin convened a Lincoln Center task force of the eight city agencies involved in the redevelopment, from the Department of City Planning to the Department of Transportation. The group meets regularly. "The city is enormously committed to it," Ms. Levin said.
While Lincoln Center still wants to improve the acoustics at Avery Fisher Hall (home to the New York Philharmonic), the hall is likely to be refurbished rather than torn down and rebuilt, as initially planned. "That is the road we really favor here," Mr. Crawford said.
Originally Lincoln Center executives said it would cost the same to renovate as to rebuild. Now executives say that that is not the case, that leaving the shell intact will cost half as much ($200 million) and take half as long (two years).
Keeping the hall's exterior will also avoid a showdown with the Fisher family, which has threatened legal action if the name of the hall is changed to accommodate a new donor.
Some Philharmonic executives may be skeptical of this approach, given that the hall's acoustics have been tinkered with in the past, without success. Zarin Mehta, the executive director of the Philharmonic, did not sound convinced that simply renovating would be sufficient. "If it costs too much, maybe we need to say, `Listen, it's not just good enough doing the hall,' " Mr. Mehta said. "Maybe we have to wait for the economy to get a little better."
Mr. Mehta said the board had no choice but to question whether to move ahead with construction plans in the current economy. "Of course it was discussed," he said. "Can we raise this money at the same time as trying to exist and raising an endowment for ourselves?"
Lincoln Center has asked the design firm of Norman Foster — who remodeled the Reichstag in Berlin and the Great Court at the British Museum — to come up with initial designs for renovating Avery Fisher Hall. Mr. Crawford said he expected to see Lord Foster's recommendations in about 10 days and to bring them to the executive committee of the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center in mid-June.
Across the plaza Lincoln Center has resigned itself to the idea of losing City Opera, which shares the New York State Theater with the New York City Ballet and considers it inadequate for singers. If the opera company moves — most likely to the former World Trade Center site — it is unclear whether it would remain connected to Lincoln Center.
For now Lincoln Center is staying out of City Opera's business. "They don't want to be in the New York State Theater for reasons they have clearly stated," Mr. Crawford said. "It's not up to me to quarrel with that. They make a very good case for that."
City Opera will not be going anywhere anytime soon. With the Lower Manhattan redevelopment plans in the nascent stages, a move by City Opera there is considered at least five years off. And questions about how the opera company could afford to build and sustain a new $300 million theater remain unresolved.
As for Lincoln Center's internal politics, many of those involved say they have markedly improved. One remaining sticking point is Mr. Lehrer, the builder, who is said to be unhappy overseeing the redevelopment. He was out of the country this week and unavailable for comment. "I can't deny there have been frictions in the working relationships," Mr. Crawford said.
Despite the uncertainties about the future, Mr. Levy and Mr. Crawford say they are pleased with what they are seeing today. Programming has been strong, they say, mentioning the Berlioz and John Adams festivals; applications are up at the Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet; and the budget is balanced. "The campus is thriving," Mr. Levy said.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
I think it would make more sense to just wait until the economic downturn is over, rather than scale down the Lincoln Center project.
June 13, 2003
Lincoln Center Redevelopment Chairman Has Resigned
By ROBIN POGREBIN
In the latest blow to Lincoln Center, Peter M. Lehrer, a construction executive, resigned yesterday as chairman of its redevelopment project, calling the project wasteful and badly managed.
"A lot of money has been spent on planning with not enough to show for it," he said yesterday.
Mr. Lehrer's departure follows the New York Philharmonic's decision 12 days ago to leave Lincoln Center for Carnegie Hall in 2006, a defection that Mr. Lehrer said sealed his decision. Avery Fisher has been the orchestra's home since 1962, and renovating it for the Philharmonic was the largest remaining component of the redevelopment. Lincoln Center officials say they still plan to refurbish that hall, though not for one flagship orchestra.
Mr. Lehrer, who was named to the post in September, is the second executive to resign as chairman of Lincoln Center's redevelopment corporation; Marshall Rose, a real estate executive, did so in October 2001, months before he planned to leave. He was frustrated by political infighting that delayed the project.
Of the $24 million that New York City gave to the project in December 2001, Lincoln Center has already spent $10 million on planning with no shovel in the ground. The city recently asked Lincoln Center to spend the rest of the money on construction rather than on planning. The project, begun in 1999, has been scaled back by more than half from its original estimated cost of $1.5 billion.
Mr. Lehrer said he had been unable to accomplish much because of the management structure. "I came to the position with much enthusiasm and interest," he said. "Unfortunately, the position that I was put in did not enable me to have the responsibility for the management of the project or the staff."
Responding to Mr. Lehrer's resignation, Bruce Crawford, the chairman of Lincoln Center, said, "It's too bad it didn't work, but it didn't work."
A founder of the large New York construction management firm Lehrer McGovern, Mr. Lehrer said that he had experienced far fewer problems on far more complicated projects than Lincoln Center's. "It was easier doing the Statue of Liberty," he said.
Lehrer McGovern merged with Bovis to become one of the nation's largest construction companies, and has managed projects like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island restorations and construction for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Canary Wharf in London.
Mr. Lehrer had also clashed with Rebecca Robertson, executive director of the redevelopment project, and demanded her departure as a condition of his remaining.
"He absolutely did not like working with Rebecca Robertson and told me she had to be replaced," Mr. Crawford said. "I spoke to the constituents, who said we should not accept that ultimatum." Lincoln Center's 12 constituent groups include the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet and the Juilliard School.
Mr. Lehrer criticized the management structure, in which Ms. Robertson, rather than the chairman, dealt with the city and reported directly to Reynold Levy, the president of Lincoln Center. "The chairman must be responsible for the executive director and the board must support him in that position," Mr. Lehrer said. "They must invest in that person the key decision making in the management of the project."
Ms. Robertson said Mr. Lehrer is "very talented and I wish him all the best."
Mr. Levy said yesterday that he was satisfied with the project's management structure and with Ms. Robertson's performance. "I'm pleased with our forward progress," he said.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
(Edited by Christian Wieland at 10:22 pm on June 13, 2003)
I read somewhere that the original Lincoln Center project was held up for a couple of months by Leonard Bernstein and the producers of the film "West Side Story". Seems they made a deal and got them to delay razing the "slums and tenaments" of that neighborhood just long enough for them to film alot of the dance scenes out in the street. When you see that film, you are seeing a real neighborhood...no longer there. *