In Sunday’s (6/28) Atlanta Journal-Constitution, James S. Russell writes, “With its soaring arches and bony ribs, Santiago Calatrava’s design for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra might have become the emblem of Atlanta—its Eiffel Tower, Space Needle or Empire State Building. In moving to a new site with more modest aspirations, should the ASO—and by extension, Atlanta—have given up on its world-class dream? … The costs and complexities of big-name architecture have fueled a revulsion against architectural spectacles in today’s miserable economy—including the engineering acrobatics Calatrava is famous for. Spectacle, in great boulevards and grand buildings, is one of the great pleasures of city living. Still ASO’s leadership looks wise for recognizing that the times are simply not right for Calatrava’s design. … On the other hand, a new site and a new architect should not be a license to lowball. … Atlanta should seek a new design that’s extroverted, not afraid to be theatrical. The strange and idiosyncratic Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis by the Paris architect Jean Nouvel builds anticipation from the moment patrons enter, urging the audience to leave the world behind and engage the performance.”

Posted June 30, 2009