01 April 2008

[pdx] Portland Looks To Get a Calatrava Landmark

1459. We note with interest that at the blog Daily Observations (one typically very orchestrally oriented), blogger Charles Noble  has let the cat out of the bag about a new symphony-hall for little old Stumptown:

In a stunning turn of events, an ‘angel’ donor who wishes to remain anonymous has donated a staggering $100 million dollars to fund a purpose-built hall for symphonic music in Portland. The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has been attached to the project, which is due to break ground on a plot of land near the Memorial Colosseum [sic] in mid-2010.

This is actually pretty exciting news for not only performance lovers but also architecture fans (of which I am one in passing). Calatrava is, according to his Wikipedia writeup:

... an internationally recognized and award-winning Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer whose principal office is in Zurich, Switzerland. Classed now among the elite designers of the world, he has offices in Zurich, Paris, New York and elsewhere

His own website is here. But for those who don't have the time to surf over and gaze lovingly on his oeurve, there is an example of Calatrava's design already here on the west coast, in a place you'd not expect: Redding, California.

The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay (which actually crosses at a bend in the Sacramento River) is a footbridge that connects the two halves of a nature park and arboretum there called the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. It also actually acts as a working sundial, reputed as the largest in the world, working – though it's only truly accurate one day per year.

It's dramatic, but somewhat impractical. But it is quite beautiful.

In form, this bridge is similar to his Puente del Alamillo in Seville, Spain and the soon-to-be-open Chords Bridge in Jerusalem, both beautiful world-class structures.

This is truly world-class stuff, and the opportunity to have a first-level landmark here in Portland is quite exciting. Maybe now now people will finally stop griping about the Portland Building ... no, hold that. Nobody will ever stop griping about the Portland Building.

Now if the Oregon Symphony could make affordable performances that I could actually attend ...

In other news today: The Liberty Bell's naming rights have been sold to Taco Bell, and will be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell; Ford Motor Company has bought naming rights to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, renaming it the Ford Lincoln Mercury Center; YTMND.com has gone out of business; Frederic March II was revealed to have been the secret husband of actress Tuesday Weld, giving her married name as Tuesday March the 2nd;  Rush Limbaugh has reregistered as a Democrat (no, wait, that actually could have happened), and at least one local Portland blogger falls for a very cool April Fools Day hoax for about thirty minutes.

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