Miami Beach now, unexpectedly, has two of the most exciting buildings in the world. The first was a parking garage, by Herzog & de Meuron, which serves little public benefit except beauty. (Though it is a boon to the wedding and party industry, and it also serves much private benefit to its owner, and no doubt it will be converted entirely into rich people lofts in the future.) That the owner calls it a "civic space" is pretty ridiculous; his penthouse is on the roof of the building and the flat rate for parking is $15. But the new home of the New World Symphony, reviewed today by Alex Ross, a few blocks away, is out of this world. I'm not a Frank Gehry fan in general but the hall is designed entirely to engage and invite the public; it fights every problematic issue of the death of classical music and the cloistering of its audience. Each night during performances, the exterior broadcast of the music and video from inside plays to packed standing-room-only crowds. And you think: wow, they actually got it! To watch an older arts institution prioritize innovative ways to create and engage new audiences is fantastic.
Monday, February 7th, 2011