Point Counterpoint II, also known as the floating concert hall, is one of the genius but little-celebrated works of Louis Kahn. The concert hall, that houses the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), was designed as a ship. From Paris, France to St. Petersburg, Russia, the stage tagged along with the orchestra everywhere it went.
The ship, owned by AWSO conductor and founder Robert Austin Boudreau, was built as a part of the celebrations of the American Bicentennial. It was constructed between 1964 and 1967, with a 195-foot in length and a 75-foot-wide stage. Beside the portholes and the circular entrances, a hydraulic lift system is responsible for the opening and closing of the stage.
This brilliant idea of the concert hall is currently a subject of debate. It has been on sale for two decades now, but nobody has shown interest in buying it due to its specialized purpose. According to the Pittsburg Post Gazette, if the boat is not sold by the end of the orchestra’s 2017 tour, it will be chopped up at the shipyard to be tuned into scrap.
Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma wrote a letter to raise awareness for the cause. It will be published in the August 17 issue of the New York Review of Books.
“It sails as a powerful, living testament to American creativity and to the elemental role that culture plays in human life,” Yo-yo says in his letter. “At a time when our national conversation is so often focused on division, we can ill afford to condemn to the scrap heap such a vibrant ambassador for our national unity.”