Friday, December 17, 2010

Niemeyer Preview in Avilés

The Niemeyer Cultural Center speeds towards completion in the northern port city of Avilés, in Asturias. To celebrate Niemeyer's 103rd birthday last Wednesday (December 15th), the Center inaugurated its dome, made of concrete sprayed over an inflated membrane of PVC. The dome will house exhibition spaces. Other elements include an auditorium, a multi-use building with a cinema, classrooms and meeting rooms, a lookout tower and a large plaza. The project is the centerpiece of an urban revitalization effort. Niemeyer donated the design to the city in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Prizes, which honored him with its Arts Prize in 1989.

For Roberto Alonso, one of the architects overseeing construction, the work stands out for its tranquility and silence, as he told a local newspaper (in Spanish). For others, Niemeyer brings the sensual pleasures of Copacabana to this tired industrial center. In its startling abstraction, I see the shorthand of the aged master, like Merce Cunningham before arthritis forced him to retire completely from the stage, who with a raised arm and a flick of his wrist could sketch a life's worth of experience in movement. Next to him, younger dancers were simply jumping around.

Niemeyer Center web page

1 comment:

  1. I like your description in the comparison to Merce Cunningham.