Save a Floating Kahn

John Hill
12. julho 2017
Photo: American Wind Symphony Orchestra

In a letter to The New York Review of Books, cellist Yo-Yo Ma makes a plea to save Point Counterpoint II, a floating concert hall designed by Louis I. Kahn in the 1960s.

The building – if one could call it that – is not nearly as well known as the Kimbell Art Museum, the recently restored Salk Institute, the Exeter Library and other Kahn masterpieces. If anything, Point Counterpoint II's buoyancy makes it the antithesis of the heavy, monumental buildings Kahn is known for.

But the idea of a barge that for five decades has traveled about America's waterways, parked, and opened up to create temporary venues for musical performances is a pretty radical one. It's no surprise that Yo-Yo Ma wants to find a home for the structure after Kahn's client, Robert Austin Boudreau, retires the boat this year (it first launched in 1976 for the US Bicentennial).

According to Yo-Yo Ma's letter:

After five decades, Robert Boudreau (who just turned ninety) and his wife, Kathleen, have decided that they cannot keep running the barge. Despite their best efforts, they have not yet found a new guardian for it. Lacking an alternative, in late July, at the conclusion of the Orchestra’s 2017 tour, this remarkable, mobile cultural institution will be broken down to scrap in a Louisiana shipyard.

He calls on readers to share any suggestions via email. Head on over to the NYRB for more information and to email the Boudreau's any suggestions.

Photo: American Wind Symphony Orchestra

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