Pietro Belluschi would probably roll over in his grave if he could see Alice Tully Hall today. But not necessarily with good cause. In 1969, Belluschi (along with Eduardo Catalano and Helge Westermann) designed the Juilliard School building, which encompasses Alice Tully Hall, in a somewhat muscular, but still watered-down rendition of the poured-concrete Brutalism made popular by Le Corbusier’s late, rugged Modern architecture [record, January 1970, page 121]. Belluschi softened the Juilliard building with a travertine coating that matched the rest of Lincoln Center. At the time, it still appeared more macho than the tepidly Modern Classical buildings of the 16-acre complex. (See Martin Filler’s critique of Lincoln Center.)
Since 2003, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) has been in charge of reconfiguring and generally spiffing up the public spaces of the Lincoln Center campus (working with Beyer Blinder Belle on one portion). Now, Juilliard is being renovated and expanded by DSR with FXFOWLE, and its first phase, Alice Tully Hall, which opened in February, demonstrates the teams’ stunning, but let’s say unusual, $157 million effort. The architects brought their own neo-Modernist vocabulary and gravity-defying vision to the job, enabled by sophisticated engineers (Arup), not to mention three-dimensional computer modeling and advanced materials fabrication.