Louis Kahn’s floating concert hall finds permanent home in Palm Beach County


Do not count the floating concert hall of Louis Kahn yet. 42 year old man Point Counterpoint II found new life in Florida, just a year after there were concerns the boat might be scuttled.

Although the speed of the 195-foot-long, 38-foot-wide boat did not exceed six to eight knots, the seagoing vessel still managed to perform all over the world. The Point Counterpoint II lies flat, a radical departure from Kahn’s distinctive use of striking geometric shapes in his buildings, but also includes a hydraulic steel cover capable of rising 25 feet into the air, topping the barge with a stage central.

The American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), founded in 1957 by Robert Austin Boudreau, has lived in the Kahn Maritime Arts Center since 1976. Kahn and Boudreau were personal friends and were discussing the replacement of the first one. Counterpoint (a reused barge incapable of independent movement) throughout the 1960s. Point Counterpoint II, designed by Kahn, finally set sail in 1976 for a 76-city tour as the excitement for the bicentennial peaked, two years after Kahn’s death in 1974.

The ship heading for Leningrad in 1989. (Courtesy of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra)

During AWSO’s 2017 tour, Boudreau, 91, had been looking to step down as director for some time, and without a successor, he brought the boat to market. Following a bidding war to lure the boat to a new permanent home between the city of Kingston in upstate New York and a private entity in Florida, the concert hall went to the latter and has since been brought to Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County. Boudreau attributes the high cost of towing the boat to the Great Lakes to Kingston in part to his selection of the Florida bidder, saying it would have cost more than $ 100,000 to comply with Coast Guard regulations.

According to Boudreau, if the boat is not at the service of the community, it might as well be scrapped. This is part of the reason why Point Counterpoint II will become a center for music education for local children, including those in Pahokee, one of Florida’s poorest communities. For Boudreau, who grew up on a Massachusetts chicken farm during the Great Depression, a music scholarship was his ticket to college, and he now hopes to guide hundreds of students out of poverty and into the university through music the same way.

Interior photo of Point Counterpoint II
Point Counterpoint II also contains a full art gallery and movie theater. (Courtesy of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra)

But keep the educational programming on board Point Counterpoint II will require fundraising. This year, Boudreau pledged $ 50,000 out of pocket to start a foundation. He admits he won’t be here forever, so the maestro is looking to raise $ 1million to make sure that Point Counterpoint II will continue to live as a public institution.


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