Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center was conceived as a modern marvel, but many would argue that it has not quite lived up to its promise. What is your experience?
Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center was conceived as a modern marvel. Its immensity and its ostentatious design suggested an unflagging support for the performing arts in Philadelphia. And its performance amenities were supposed to be unrivaled.
Verizon Hall itself is designed like a cello, with no lines or right angles, and its acoustics were meant to be adjustable to suit different kinds of performances.
Both Verizon Hall and the smaller Perelman Theater sit on hundreds of rubber pads to prevent vibrations from the Broad Street subway line interfering with performances.
The indoor garden under the center’s barrel-shaped glass roof was meant to be a beautiful public space.
And yet many would argue that the Kimmel, while serving as a perfectly functional performing arts center these 10 years, and hosting some of the finest artists in the world, has not quite lived up to its promise.
Purists insist that the modern design has impeded acoustics, and that more classical decorative approach is better. There are plans in the works to make improvements. The rooftop garden gets too hot or too cold to be usable for months out of the year. There are plans to enclose it to improve climate control. And when there are no performances happening, the hulking building doesn’t appear to be the vibrant and welcoming public square it was intended to be.
Based on your experiences there, what is your verdict: Has the Kimmel succeeded? Define “success” however you wish.