Hold the ‘pancakes’ design at SPAC
Since the change in management a few years ago, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center not only is doing better financially, it has come a long way in terms of openness and public relations. After unveiling a new design for the amphitheater, and seeing it mocked by some bloggers, SPAC officials say they are considering going back to the drawing board. Good idea.
Unlike a bad show, which is here today and gone tomorrow, a bad-looking building will be there to get bad reviews for a long time. And with the new facade proposed as part of a $2.5 million renovation, this would be a bad-looking building.
The problem is those horizontal wavy layers that would cover the outside, which the bloggers likened to a “stack of pancakes.” The waves are supposed to evoke the contours of the SPAC lawn; and the material, beige-colored recycled paper and forest products, is supposed to remind people that this is a “green” building. “It’s a balance of trying to retain the feeling of the past but trying to move forward into the future,” said Executive Director Marcia White.
But what the new design would do is make a delightfully open, angular place look closed in and bowl-like. There is nothing wrong with the muted brown of the spaced vertical boards now covering the outside — other than that they are rotted. The building, which was constructed in 1966, is already modern in the best sense of the term: light, airy and tasteful. There is no need to make it look futuristic just for the sake of “moving forward.”
The interior of the amphitheater needed a good makeover, and has gotten it. As for the outside, leave well enough alone.