Burg Altena, Germany

(17.04.2003 , United States, DURHAM )
Rafael Vinoly; the Semans Lecture

Mary and Jim Semans Lecture
Duke University Museum of Art
29 April 2003, 7 pm, White Lecture Hall

Rafael Viñoly has established himself over the past year as one of the most in-demand architects in the world. In January of this year he was awarded the $650 million project to completely renovate the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the nation’s premier artistic space, and a month later his “THINK” group was one of two finalists for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Mr. Viñoly will deliver the Duke University Museum of Art’s fifth annual “Mary and Jim Semans Lecture,” Tuesday April 29, at 7 pm in White Lecture Hall on Duke’s East Campus on Main Street in Durham, NC. The lecture will be preceded by a reception at 6 pm in the museum.

Mr. Viñoly is a native of Uruguay who trained in Buenos Aires, and now lives and works out of New York City. His firm has additional offices in Buenos Aires and Tokyo. He was awarded more than 50 commissions throughout South America prior to his move to New York, and then burst onto the international architectural scene with his highly praised design for Tokyo’s International Forum, the world’s largest retail space.

Rafael Viñoly’s museum and cultural work includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, which opened in December of 2001 to much acclaim; renovations to the interior of the Queens Museum of Art, one of the landmark buildings of the 1939 World’s Fair; a $25 million art museum for the Fortabat Collection in Buenos Aires; the Jazz Theatre for the Columbus Circle project in New York; a $225 million expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Art; a $55 million project for a new Tampa Art Museum; and of course, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, a $23 million project now under construction at the 9-acre lot formed by Duke University Road, Anderson Street, and Campus Drive between East and West campuses.

The Nasher’s plan calls for a 67,000+ square foot museum, with five separate, rectangular pavilions: Special Exhibitions; a pavilion for the permanent collection from antiquity to 1900 and another for international art from 1900 to the present; a Lecture Hall and an Education Pavilion, all five linked by a 13,000+ square foot “Great Hall” covered with a column-less 17,000+ square foot glass and steel roof, an engineering tour-de-force. The grounds will remain park-like, featuring four sculpture gardens. The Duke Endowment of Charlotte donated $2.5 million to name the grand hall connecting the five pavilions in honor of longtime chair Mary Semans. The splendid space will be known as the “Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Grand Hall.”

National attention is being focused on the Nasher Museum of Art: The New York Times featured the design in a piece on museum construction in December 2001, and in Spring 2002, Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger delivered the fourth Mary and Jim Semans lecture. Mr. Goldberger, who for many years was the architecture critic of the New York Times and now writes for The New Yorker, spoke about modern architecture and community, specifically the Nasher. “The expansive Grand Hall will create a piazza-like heart for the structure,” said Goldberger, as he expressed admiration for the community feeling engendered.

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