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How is art made? Kennedy Center to open US arts campus in 2019

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By Agence France-Presse

Between a parkway and a busy freeway, Washington’s Kennedy Center will open a massive campus next year where the public can view up close how art is made.

Natural light floods the two-level sloping design dotted by three white board-form concrete pavilions that play host to 11 intimate rehearsal/classroom/performance spaces.

It’s almost the antithesis of the center’s original 1971 building, a column-filled cavernous structure dressed in Italian Carrara marble.

The REACH in contrast is all soaring ceilings, huge windows and swooping curves, which architect Steven Holl said were inspired by glissando, a continuous slide of notes. There are no columns.

“Even on the inside, the structure is the form and the shape,” Holl, 70, explained in an interview.

Holl’s team developed “crinkle concrete” to soften sound in ways he says are superior to acoustic tiles. The deeply indented slabs also serve as supporting walls.

The 4.6-acre (1.9-hectare) project adds 72,000 square feet (6,700 square meters) of new interior space, expanding public areas by 20 percent and nearly doubling outdoor space at one of America’s top performing arts center.

Set to open September 7, 2019, more than two years after the initially planned May 29, 2017 start date, the project has been beset by delays and cost overruns.

Construction didn’t begin until October 2015, nearly a year after a ceremonial groundbreaking, after part of the original design failed to get regulatory approval.

Projected costs ballooned from $100 million at the outset in 2013 to $175 million, but the fundraising goal jumped to $250 million in order to also cover additional anticipated costs.

The project will be almost entirely philanthropically funded, with the federal government only paying for maintenance and upkeep, president Deborah Rutter said on a recent tour of the construction site.