Arthur Sampson

Big Ticket Item
July 09, 1977

When Clive Barnes saw the Kennedy Center for the first time, he rejoiced that New York no longer had the nation's ugliest opera house. Ada Louise Huxtable, the New York Times architecture critic, described the whole complex as "Washington superscale, but just a little bit bigger . . . . Albert Speer would have approved." It squats on the east bank of the Potomac glaring malevolently across the river at northern Virginia, as if at its next meal. Since it opened in 1971, the Kennedy Center has become a focal point of Washington life; it's hard to imagine what life here was like before.