The unmistakable sculptural lines which dominate the building at Annandale-on-Hudson – on the banks of the Hudson River, 150 kilometres north of New York – are formed by the roof which consists of a series of brushed steel sails which reflect the light and colour of the sky as well as the surrounding landscape. Inside, two theatres to hold audiences of 900 and 200, a series of rehearsal rooms and teaching areas, covering a total area of around 10 000 square metres. The cost of the project? 62 million dollars. When the president of Bard College took the decision in 1997 to appoint Gehry to design the new centre for performing arts he was looking chiefly for an architect able to transform a building into a sculpture and not thinking in terms of hiring a celebrity.
Leon Botstein’s made his choice then not because he was trying to be trendy, hardly suspecting how things might turn out since it was before the opening of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. “There's the architect as utilitarian, architect as businessman and then there's the architect as an artist”, stated Botstein, “Gehry was the greatest living exponent of urban sculpture. We hired him because of his inherent empathy for the work of artists”.