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Latitude/Longitude: 38.89591, -77.05573
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The Center, which opened September 8, 1971, produces and presents theater, dance, ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, and folk music, in addition to multi-media performances for all ages.
Kennedy Center designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, it was built by Philadelphia contractor John McShain and is administered by a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. It receives federal funding each year to pay for the maintenance and operation of the building.
Kennedy Center is 30 m high, 190 m long, and 91 m wide. The Kennedy Center features a 190 m, 19 m grand foyer, with 16 hand-blown Orrefors crystal chandeliers and red carpeting. The Hall of States and the Hall of Nations are both 76 m, 19 m corridors. The building has drawn criticism about its location, and for its scale and form, although it has also drawn praise for its acoustics, and its terrace overlooking the Potomac River. In her book On Architecture, Ada Louise Huxtable called it “gemütlich Speer.”
Cyril M. Harris designed the Kennedy Center’s auditoriums and their acoustics. A key consideration is that many aircraft fly along the Potomac River and overhead the Kennedy Center, as they take off and land at the nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Helicopter traffic over the Kennedy Center is also fairly high. To keep out this noise, the Kennedy Center was designed as a box within a box, giving each auditorium an extra outer shell.
⇒ Architecture Guide to WASHINGTON
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