• Susan Seligson

    Susan Seligson has written for many publications and websites, including the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Yankee, Outside, Redbook, the Times of London, Salon.com, Radar.com, and Nerve.com. Profile

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There are 30 comments on $10 Million Gift Names New CFA Theater

  1. Good thing for BU. I hope a main library is in the works. Mugar is terrible; the roof leaks, weather control systems are outdated (in the summer its freezing in some parts of the library). It’s a real shame. The President and Trustees should think seriously about a new library. After all it is the most important place on campus.

  2. How wonderful – another overly angular monstrosity built from glass and steel to make the BU campus look even more appealing to wealthy foreign investors and their college-aged children.

    How incredible would it be if the school administration took one of these massive donations and built something in harmony with the rest of campus? Or better yet, used the funds to repair any of the numerous existing buildings currently in disrepair? For shame.

    1. To describe the facade of our new BU theater as an “Overly angular monstrosity” overlooks the deliberate architectural intent of this carefully considered addition to commonwealth ave. I suggest a more careful reading of the structure once it’s complete. You might also consider an architectural survey course or even an introduction to theater class while here at BU. A structure devoted to the discipline of theater study should, in my opinion, be anything but pedestrian. I’m proud of the commitment BU has made to the CFA and welcome the generosity of these alumni.

      1. I’m curious, Jeffrey – what do you consider the “deliberate architectural intent” to be? I’d be interested in knowing your opinion, even though it doesn’t jibe with Benjamin’s or mine. I do agree that any building, especially one devoted to creativity, should reflect the philosophy it hopes to embody, but it’s also a matter of taste and, I have to argue, environment. That building would look just fine in the Seaport district, but it just doesn’t play well with the ones around it.

      2. Jeffrey – thank you for your comment! I agree that the commitment BU has made to the continuing success of CFA is something to be proud of.

        However, ‘deliberate architectural intent’ alone does not make a good building. What would count as a truly good building in this context would be one that is beautiful on its own in addition to furthering the cohesive and timeless collegiate aesthetic that BU has (for the most part) cultivated along Comm Ave. As Jemimah accurately noted, this new structure would look more at home as a bank in the Seaport than anywhere on BU’s campus.

        A final note – I had the pleasure of taking several theatre classes during my years at BU. CFA deserves a world-class venue for performance, but unfortunately, what they have received is a visually grating morass of wasted potential.

        1. The intent of the facade is to provide a mirror to those who might encounter the building on the plaza level. The plaza is a new public gathering space along comm ave. and a much needed green buffer to the freeway directly across the street. Architects often use spaces such as these to calm frenetic street activity and prepare or condition patrons heading into performing arts venues. What you are not seeing in this rendering are the future building that will eventually occupy the parcels towards the west.

          “The purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure” -Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2

          1. What does the facade hope to mirror, rusting Green Line trolleys groaning back and forth across six lanes of traffic? Greenery and environmental features are obviously a smart move in any new design, yet I am skeptical that the chosen plan is the only one that could include these elements. There are endless possibilities, and yet BU has selected the one that most closely resembles a futurist self-storage warehouse.

  3. Hi. I think this is exciting and just one
    More wonderful thing that BU had done and how the campus has changed so much since I graduated in 1972 from the then college of business administration . I am very proud to say I am an alumni and happy to see all the many new things that exist along Comm

  4. I have to second the motion of Benjamin. Couldn’t it be a modern structure while still fitting into the surrounding architecture?? The rendering looks something out of Epcot Center or maybe an airport. And seems neither inviting nor unique. Sorry, I have to give it a thumbs down.

  5. Just awesome! You’d be hard-pressed to overstate how great a development this is BU, CFA, SoT and the arts at BU in general or how wonderful/generous this gift is. Thanks so much to the Zide family!!

    1. True, the theatre looks more of a “black-box” type than typical proscenium, the building has a large footprint, and although I understand the need for production and teaching facilities, 250 seats devoted to a performance space does seem low capacity.

  6. Although my graduating senior will not have the opportunity to “play” at the new facility, I am looking forward to attending many performances here in the future! I am often asked about the BU SOT program by potential students and parents, and the one issue that constantly concerns them is the classroom division between the design/production students (at the Huntington) and the performance students (855 Comm Ave). This new facility will allow students to build a more close-knit “theatre company” – an environment that potential SOT students will want to embrace.

    So, so grateful for the generous gift from the Zide family! The theatre will be a gorgeous addition to Comm Ave.

  7. As a graduate of CFA (Acting ’82), I’m more than delighted by this development and the decision to build a world class performance space literally across the street from CFA. I performed numerous times at the old BU theater while in college and had the good fortune to work in regional theater across the US and direct tours in Europe. To say that theater and its performance spaces have changed since my time would be an understatement. This new facility will provide an exceptional and flexible opportunity to BU’s performing artists to stretch far beyond what the old space could permit. Thank you to all who made this happen!!!

  8. First, what a tremendous, thoughtful gesture to attach the name of Jan’s parents to an important, long awaited addition to the BU campus. Thank you.

    However, the glass and steel face this building exposes to passersby screams that the inside promises to deliver the more modern cinematic art of Hollywood or the goings on of a convention – think Javits Center – than a theatre.

    The exterior design simply stands in stark contrast and even presents an odd juxtaposition to the more appropriate art deco-ish styling of its next door neighbor, 808 Comm. Ave., and that building’s cross-street companion, 855 Comm Ave.

    Even the out front plaza shows more masonry than greenery. With a more art deco-ish building facade I can only imagine the type of green space that could have been used to carve pathways from the street that lead at angles with twists and turns past artful fountains/statuary and ultimately intersect at a grand entrance. What a mood changing experience that would have been, to come a few steps from the hustle and bustle of a city street into the warm, welcoming arms of a facility where the trans formative magic of theater is learned and displayed by a new generation.

    On the plus side, from the designs and descriptions of the interior, this facility promises to be truly state-of-the art, exposing students and faculty to a wider variety of options. Not to mention it will enable the many theatre disciplines to intermingle and experiment more easily than they can today.

  9. Thank you for the donation
    It was also very generous to name it
    after your in laws
    Although I didn’t like the modern design
    the inside space is beautiful and could be used for various university functions
    The outside seating and landscaping very nice

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