Vinoly’s Philadelphia Story Ends

The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and its architect, Rafael Vinoly, reached a settlement this week that ended an ugly and public legal battle in which the managers of the concert hall accused the designer of doing shoddy work that lead the construction to balloon $23 million over budget.

Peter Dobrin, who has been writing about the mess for the Philadelphia Inquirer, hands the win to Vinoly, and predicts dire things for the Kimmel Center for blaming its problems on Vinoly:

Anyone keeping track of these legal maneuvers will spot the fact that architect Rafael Viñoly got the apology he wanted.
Whether any money changed hands in the out-of-court settlement – $23 million was the amount the Kimmel sought – is unanswered at the moment.
And whether any amount of money was worth the message the Kimmel sent to its public when it sued its own architect is something one hopes the center’s board fully considered. When a convention of music critics meets here this spring, you can be sure that this sad episode will be recounted to readers across the country.

No one at Vinoly would comment on Thursday as to whether any money exchanged hands in the settlement, and J Bradford Mcilvain, a lawyer representing the Kimmel Center, was not available for comment on Thursday afternoon. But Mr. Vinoly must feel somewhat vindicated with the statement that the Kimmel’s lawyers issued.

“… the Kimmel Center recognizes that the Viñoly-designed and delivered Kimmel Center is a stunning, state-of-the-art concert hall that attracts world-class artists. It is one of the most beautiful and unique buildings of its kind in the world, a world-class performing arts center, a wonderful civic space and an economic engine for the entire area. As one of the best facilities of its kind anywhere, it has achieved its goal of becoming a cultural center for all tastes.”

The Kimmel managers’ tune was somewhat different in November, when they accused Mr. Vinoly of habitually failing to meet strict deadlines and being “wholly unable” to successfully convert his ambitious concept into a real building.

- Jason Horowitz