Alice Tully Hall, the chamber music auditorium at Lincoln Center in New York, re-opens this weekend in a building that’s been ingeniously opened out and reconfigured by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. In this week’s Time I wrote about it in the context of performing arts centers in a few places around the U.S. that have found themselves to be isolated physically from the cities they serve. In Washington, D.C. a few years ago they had plans to connect the John F. Kennedy Center more closely to the city by way of elaborate new surroundings designed by Rafael Vinoly, until Congress pulled back on its share of the financing.
As for Los Angeles, Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and the rest of the LA Music Center it’s part of sit in what still feels like splendid isolation downtown. Over the last decade tens of thousands of people have moved to that part of the city, which is also where LAMOCA sits, but when you walk around down there it still feels like nobody’s home. So the city and a private developer have been moving slowly ahead on the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project to bring condos, shops, restaurants and a park to the general vicinity of the Music Center. In that case it’s not so much an effort by the Center to bring itself to the neighborhood as an effort by the city to bring a neighborhood to the Center. But don’t look for that to happen soon. As you may have heard, there’s a bit of an economic downturn going on.