I went to the Kennedy Center last week to see La Traviata and thought I'd take you along for a tour of the Kenny Center. Formally called the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, this building is pretty much hated here in DC for being ugly. Maybe I'm a contrary person (I'll admit it) but I sort of like it. Notice...I said 'sort of'. I'll explain why after a brief history lesson.It sits on the Potomac River just off the National Mall, beside the famous Watergate complex seen here above.The terrace off the rear faces the river and juts out over a busy highway. When you're up there enjoying the view you don't even notice a roadway at all!Designed by Edward D. Stone, it was completed in 1971 as the memorial to JFK. This is one of the few memorials that is nearly self sufficient through ticket sales and donations and does not rely completely on the govt for maintenance. Interestingly, it is funded as a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The center also has many outreach programs and is home to the national opera, orchestra and many visiting musicians and actors.It's an easy walk from Georgetown, and you walk up these steps seen above that were just completed onto a large side terrace. Concerts are held here in the summertime and it's a beautiful place to watch the sunset over the Potomac and Georgetown, seen below.I wasn't sure if photographs were permitted, but I snuck 2 just for you! There are two main hallways seen here below that lead into the huge lobby. It is hard to give you an idea of the scale of this building: it is IMMENSE. These hallways are so tall (63 ft.) and have a very elegant classical feel to them and thats what I love most about this building. It's not just a 'kleenex box on the river' as some call it! The Kennedy Center is a modern version of a classical building: All white marble, many columns and monumental scale.The main lobby stretches 600 feet long along the river with the large terrace I showed earlier cantilevered over a highway off of it. The terrace is always packed at intermission with patrons taking in the view, getting fresh air and admiring the many fountains. I love these modern 'snowflake' chandeliers throughout the building!
In the center of the lobby you see this enormous bust of JFK.Despite it's inception in 1933, the center didn't get any interest until the Kennedy's took an interest and got major funding for the project. When JFK was assasinated in 1963, the center was named after him. The total cost was $70 million dollars despite many donations and gifts, such as the 3,700 tons of carrara marble used on the exterior which was donated by Italy.
The building measures 100 ft. high, 630 ft. long and 300 ft. wide! The minimalistic detailing brings it down in size I think when viewed from afar and make it less monster-like - that is until you approach it!