Witold Rybczynski

Author

Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York. Image credit: Bilyana Dimitrova.

We have become used to concert halls that make big bold statements: the looming sculptural forms of the Philharmonie in Paris, the metallic sails of Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the giant glass barrel vault of the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The Kleinhans is curiously elusive.

Opéra Bastille, Paris, designed by architect Carlos Ott.

The Opéra Bastille is obviously intended to be a modern rethinking of the traditional opera house, but in turning away from la grande cuisine bourgeoise of the Palais Garnier, Carlos Ott has eschewed nouvelle cuisine and instead has provided the Parisian public with the architectural equivalent of bread and water.

Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Hall, Fort Worth. Image credit: Nikreates/Alamy

Performance spaces today are designed to be stand-alone icons, but that’s not how we always designed these buildings.

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