Collaboration in Stone

We were delighted to open your issue and see the photo of the stone installation piece of the new “Masonry Variations” exhibition at the National Building Museum (ENR 10/20 p. 10). It is quite breathtaking, if we do say so ourselves.

While you got one of the exhibition’s two points right—pushing classic materials in two directions—there was an equally important second point, that of collaboration. While crediting architect Jeanne Gang and the engineers who helped make the stone curtain wall work the way it was intended, there was one other person without whom the whole project would remain a dream, or at best, a sketch. That person is master stone mason and International Masonry Institute instructor Matthew Redabaugh.

Ms. Gang would be the first to tell you that Matt was her equal in design, problem solving and construction. It is this lesson of true collaboration between designers and craftworkers that can have the most lasting legacy of this exhibit.

Joan B. Calambokidis
International Masonry Institute
Annapolis, Md.

The Eye of the Beholder

Matthew Smith’s letter on the “inhumanity” of the new Disney Concert Hall indicates that he resides in another state where he does not have to confront a building that is offensive to him and therefore, by extension, offensive to our civilization in general (ENR 9/22 p. 5). Those of us who actually live in Los Angeles think it is a fantastic building and the initial concerts are sold out at ticket prices far in excess of $1,000, mostly just because people want to be among the first to see the inside of the building.

Gehry’s design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with a similar exterior has put that town on the tourist map. For people with delicate aesthetic sensibilities who come to L.A., we also have a very nice “humanistic” theater to appeal to Mr. Smith—the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, where you can sit on rocks in an oak forest. It is possible to like both types of theaters.