The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which tonight unveils the design for its 3.8-acre site at 14th and Peachtree streets, has a lot riding on Calatrava’s plan.

The orchestra, which aspires to be world class, has enhanced its status in the past five years ó from hiring hot conductors Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles to performing ambitious new works. But the ASO remains hampered by the widely acknowledged acoustical defects of Symphony Hall and its anonymity within the Woodruff Arts Center.

Like the High Museum of Art, which in 1983 built its own architecturally significant digs on the Peachtree Street campus, the symphony wants its new home to be a physical symbol of its existence ó and its ambition.

“We want a landmark,” is ASO President Allison Vulgamore’s mantra. “We want the wow factor, monumental beauty.”

Well, they got it from me. Money, however, might be a stumbling block.

Atlanta officials hope the splashy design will excite the community and generate support for its building campaign, as happened in Dallas and Los Angeles. The ASO has raised $100 million of the estimated $300 million price tag in five years.

The orchestra is seeking $100 million from local government ó a tall order in a state not known for arts support.

Fulton County Commission Chairman Karen Handel called the architectural design “stunning,” but said she would not speculate on whether commissioners would commit public funds to the project.

I’m for it, but I’m pretty much in favor of public funding of the arts.

3 Comments so far

  1. Kendall (unregistered) on February 9th, 2005 @ 12:45 pm

    Wow! Can you imagine the impact THAT building would have on “kiddies” visiting during school field trips? Magical!

    Definitely – they should add a penny on the state sales tax to pay for it!

  2. stevie (unregistered) on February 9th, 2005 @ 5:41 pm

    What a wonderful idea for the ASO and for ATLANTA. We really need more places for art, in and around the city, that are significant and make a statement about artistic pursuits.

    I am willing to donate money to the project, as I could, and hope the ASO could show it really deserves a building like that so that others in the city would be willing to donate money.

    Corporate donations too.

    However, in no way do I agree with any public money going into a project like that. Atlanta has far, far too many projects to spend tax money on to enhance safety, the environment and infrastructure.

    So, I love the building, I love the ASO and I’m willing to contribute but, no tax money. After all, a building like that isn’t really “part of the people” unless the “people” bought it with their own money.

  3. mingaling (unregistered) on February 10th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    That totally looks like Space Mountain. I’m all for it.

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