Rem Koolhaas to design building in Hudson

seattle central library

The Koolhaas-designed Seattle Central Library. As odd as the building is from the outside, the interior spaces are amazing.

This is crazy: Rem Koolhaas has agreed to design a building in Hudson, New York.

New York Magazine reports the superstar architect has signed a deal with performance artist Marina Abramović to design the Center for the Preservation of Performance Art, which would house performance art pieces that go on for hours -- or days:

At the future museum devoted to marathon pieces, viewers will watch in specially constructed chairs complete with wheels, tables to dine upon, and lamps. If they fall asleep, "the attendant will roll you to the sleeping area" of the theater, she said, but sleepers will still be considered part of the performance. "When you wake up, raise your hand and you'll be wheeled back," she promised.

NY Mag reports Abramović has to raise $8 million for the project -- and she's pushing for related development in the city, including a hotel for arts tourists.

Abramović got attention most recently for The Artist is Present, a 2010 performance at the Museum of Modern Art in which she sat motionless and visitors were invited to sit facing her.

Koolhaas is one of the world's most famous architects. Among his notable buildings: the Seattle Central Library. His designs are striking and odd. NYT architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote last year that Koolhaas' crazy CCTV building in Beijing "may be the greatest work of architecture built in this century." In 2008 Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

If the project comes together, it would be a huge step in the ongoing transformation of Hudson. The city's Warren Street already feels like part of New York City on weekends. And it's becoming home to some ambitious and creative projects, from the Basilica Hudson arts venue to Cafe le Perche, which is trying to produce a baguette as good as what might get in France.

(Be sure to read Sam Pratt for more context.)

[via @missstafford]

photo: Flickr user andrewasmith


New development in Hudson is a fine thing, but I can't picture anything resembling the pictured building fitting into the present downtown. I'd hope the architect could find something modern but sympathetic.

This is awesome, and also ironic, as the Hudson City School District music and arts department are facing near-total annihilation this year, once again... they're one cut away from losing their elementary instrumental program. I fear that all this modernization of Hudson is only for the weekenders and tourists and as long as the infrastructure, education and social services available to the residents of Hudson is in such disrepair, people won't put down roots here.

Does anyone else get uncomfortable visiting Hudson? Clearly there's about two streets that have been totally gentrified. But all the art galleries, clothing shops, and antique sellers are so overpriced, they're catering directly to the rich out-of-town 1 percenters. I can't imagine that the families who actually live two blocks from Warren Street could afford much there. A center for "preserving performance art" just seems to be rubbing it in their faces.

Rem Koolhaas. Absolutely a great name for an architect.

Koolhaas is an architect in the same way that Tom Six is a movie director. This will be tragic for Hudson.

A local official says Koolhaas will be handling the interior, another architect the exterior, or at least that's her understanding:

Since Dennis Wedlick designed her upstate house, and he has an architecture office just a couple of blocks down from the museum site, it would seem possible that he might be involved.

As to Hudson being "overpriced," that's more a windshield view than a reality. I do an annual holiday shopping guide of things under $100 (some under $10) and never have any shortage of material.

Hudson, unlike many American main streets, still has a locally-owned sporting goods store, several hairdressers, dive bars, two cheap Chinese takeout places, cut-rate tax preparers, several music shops, thrift stores, a roach motel, etc. Sure, there are also wildly expensive stores. But there is a lot more in between than the above poster may have noticed on a casual visit.

I quote:
"At the future museum devoted to marathon pieces, viewers will watch in specially constructed chairs complete with wheels, tables to dine upon, and lamps. If they fall asleep, "the attendant will roll you to the sleeping area" of the theater, she said, but sleepers will still be considered part of the performance. "When you wake up, raise your hand and you'll be wheeled back," she promised."

Reminds me of artist Ben Katchor's concept of a theater designed with the specific purpose of putting the audience to sleep: among other features the air circulation is shut off during performances, and the audience listens to the sound of heavy cream dropping into a series of bowls.

Isn't it great when life imitates art?

Modern architecture = awesome
New performance space in Hudson = awesome
"the attendant will roll you to the sleeping area" = haaaaaahahahahahahahahaha there is no way to take any part of this announcement seriously after that.

And people complain that the convention center would be a waste of money!

Actually, there are TWO roach motels.

The CCTV building is one of the worst buildings built in this century.

This sounds like the beginning of the next Hostel movie. Sure you are returned to the action when you wake up. However, they did not warn you that the performance you are returned to is a scene with your hand involuntarily raised and a drill bit going through your cheek. There is no way I will be attending any event where I am rolled anywhere out of sight with the other sleepers.

I looked into Abramovic's's one of her early performances:

Rhythm 10, 1973

"In her first performance Abramović explored elements of ritual and gesture. Making use of twenty knives and two tape recorders, the artist played the Russian game in which rhythmic knife jabs are aimed between the splayed fingers of her hand. Each time she cut herself, she would pick up a new knife from the row of twenty she had set up, and record the operation.

After cutting herself twenty times, she replayed the tape, listened to the sounds, and tried to repeat the same movements, attempting to replicate the mistakes, merging together past and present. She set out to explore the physical and mental limitations of the body – the pain and the sounds of the stabbing, the double sounds from the history and from the replication. With this piece, Abramović began to consider the state of consciousness of the performer. “Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”

For performances like that you don't need a state of the art hall- you need a table on the sidewalk and a tip jar. The insanity of NYC is spreading northward and needs to be halted.

@BBnet3000 - howso? Do you mean ascetically in your opinion, or is it actually lacking structurally/safety/etc?

Because I think it looks awesome, but I don't know much more about it.

Raising 8 million, huh? Who is putting in the other 100 million that would be needed for an institution like this to even have a glimmer of a chance of succeeding? Something seems fishy here to me...

I really hope that the building respects the street, very few modern buildings do. Good urban design is so simple, and many starchitects break the rules for fun.

Koolhaas in Hudson reminds me of the big opportunity Troy missed at EMPAC. With $360 million to spend it could have been what Gehry did for Bilbao.

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