“Following a long and difficult gestation that is not entirely over, La Philharmonie de Paris is set to open in January 2015,” writes George Loomis in Friday’s (8/29) New York Times. “If all goes according to plan, Paris will have one of the finest—and, with a price tag of €381 million, or $505 million, one of the most costly—concert halls anywhere in the world. The Orchestre de Paris, now housed at the venerable Salle Pleyel in central Paris, will be its resident orchestra, but programming will also include a wide array of guest organizations and solo artists. … Controversy has dogged the Philharmonie from the beginning. Cost overruns, its relatively remote location, issues concerning artistic decision-making and even whether Paris really needed a new concert hall are some of the things people are talking about. There is little disagreement, however, about the spectacular nature of the building designed by the architect Jean Nouvel … The extravagant aluminum structure looks like a collection of randomly stacked slabs, with significant space between them and a vertical slab cutting through the others. The 2,400-seat auditorium reflects the influence of Berlin’s concert hall, also called the Philharmonie, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. … Acoustical tests for the Philharmonie are set for November.”

Posted August 29, 2014