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WTC Arts Center Shifts Direction, Gehry's Role Questioned

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Late last week, it was reported that a temporary artistic director was hired to help redesign the long-in-the-works World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, and the question was raised as to whether or not starchitect Frank Gehry would still be involved with the project. Arts center president Maggie Boepple implied that working with Gehry so early on may have been a mistake and that the architect may change: "So many mistakes are made when genius architects design a building and that comes before the workhorse of the building," she told the Times. "It's not a comment on Gehry as an architect. It's a different skill set." Gehry's fans are now coming to his defense. In an Letter to the Editor published today, the president of Bard College, where Gehry designed a performing arts center, says that the architect's work is "magnificent" and "New York City will be lucky to have an arts complex designed by Mr. Gehry. The choice of architect should not be changed."

The arts center plans have changed from a large 1,000-seat theater to three smaller flexible theaters seating 550, 250 and 150, but Gehry, apparently, has not been involved at all in these changes. He told the Times it's been "radio silence" on his end in regards to communication with the arts center board. "I don't know what their priorities are. They haven't talked to me, so I don't know." The good (?) news is that there's no rush to figure anything out. The site where the center will go is currently occupied by the temporary PATH station, so work can't begin until that's dismantled sometime in 2016. Here's to another two years of wondering whether or not NYC will be graced with another Gehry design.

· Working With Frank Gehry [NYT]
· London Director to Draft Arts Vision for Ground Zero [NYT]
· World Trade Center Performing Arts Center coverage [Curbed]