Friday, July 15, 2005

Katzen Arts Center

I realize the last few posts have been slightly off topic - so allow me to move back to the design world with a local DC story.

American University's Katzen Arts Center will be un unveiled to the public this Saturday. It is rare that a cultural building is opened in DC that is of any modern architectural interest - but the Katzen Center is definitely not your normal square DC building with columns and marble stairs.

Designed by lead architect Steven Kleinrock of the Einhorn Yaffee Prescott firm, the new center is a slender, long structure with a dramatically rounded entrance punctuated with several expansive rectangular windows.

But beyond its appearance, the 130,000 square foot Center is meant to provide a variety of functions, including 30,000 sq feet of gallery space, a 200 seat recital hall, a black box theater, a dance studio, and classroom and art studio space.

I've only seen the building from the outside (and it definitely stands out), but Washington Post critic Benjamin Forgey seems to think that although the building balances the long, narrow site with its interesting curves and details, the Center fails in some respects including providing gallery space that allows the art to stand out more than the gallery. However, the bottom line is that the gallery's size alone (larger than the Philips and Freer galleries) will likely garner significant esteem for it in the DC art world.

For more info you can check out AU's site for the Center

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