UPDATE: According to a Hudson Supervisor, Koolhaas may handle the building's interior, while the exterior would be renovated by another architect.
New York Magazine’s “Vulture” blog reports some truly earth-shaking news for Hudson: Rem Koolhaas has signed on to build Marina Abramovic’s long-awaited museum. The Center for the Preservation of Performance Art is slated for the old Community Tennis building on the north side of the 7th Street park.
Without exaggeration, Koolhaas is among the very most respected avant-garde architects in the world today. His involvement means that the building should become a destination not only for performance art afficianados, but also architecture buffs.
According to the article, Abramovic—who also bought a Dennis Wedlick house here in Columbia County—is anticipating an $8 million budget. She also says that she’s advocating with the new Mayor to support a hotel which would accommodate the large number of anticipated visitors, some of whom might be looking for something other than a B&B experience or a motel. (Note: A friend reports that the nearby St. Charles Hotel, which had suffered from some neglect over the years, recently has begun renovating its rooms.)
Describing the area, Vulture columnist Alexandra peers writes:
Hudson, New York, and the surrounding region southeast of the Catskills, is already something of a serious art-world hangout, with several expat galleries in town. It was the site of a New Art Dealers Alliance art fair last summer (not to mention the headquarters of the last century’s “Hudson River School” of painters and painting).
It will be fascinating, among other things, to see how Hudson’s Historic Preservation Commission approaches the project. I’ve long argued that preservation in Hudson should focus primarily on (A) preventing demolition of historic structures and (B) assisting homeowners with making—and finding funding for—historically accurate restorations. A question I remember raising with my friend Tony Thompson way back in 1998 or ’99, at a garden party held by Sarah Sterling: What would Hudson do if a truly famous architect wanted to build something cutting-edge here? Would we spurn a Richard Meier, or Zaha Hadid, or Frank Gehry building because it was not period? Hudson is, today, a catalog of period vernacular American styles precisely because its building stock evolved with the times.
(Obviously, there is a big difference between an ambitious modern project and someone negligently stripping important period details from a historic façade... But how does one distinguish between the two in a preservation code, without essentially saying “You can change it, so long the result is really cool”?)
This project may put such theoretical questions to the test. However it turns out, Koolhaas’ involvement is huge, positive news for Hudson, promising many direct and indirect economic and cultural benefits.
[h/t Warren Reiss]