The Experience Music Project is a dual bravura performance
of music and architecture. It's the brainchild of Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and owner of a big
hunk of downtown Seattle real estate.
In 1991 he and his wife, Jody Patton, began amassing a huge collection of
Jimi Hendrix artifacts and decided to build a place for public display. This idea resulted in the ambitious mega-salute to
It seeks to "celebrate and explore creativity as expressed in American popular music and
exemplified by rock 'n' roll."
The place is filled with photos, memorabilia (interested in seeing Michael Jackson's glove?),
guitars, amps,and lots of interactive media, digital sound labs, mixing consoles, "artists' journey" shows, performance
stages, a "Sky Church," and all the bells and whistles of a museum, including a shop, restaurant, and school and camp outreach
programs for children.
"It's like we're trying to catch lightning in a bottle-- in this case, the lightning is
rock 'n' roll, and the bottle happens to be a 140,000-square-foot Frank Gehry building."
- Chris Bruce, curator
Frank Gehry, who loves to push boundaries, designed the curves, steel ribs,
skin, and interior walls with the aid of a 3-D computer modeling system (CATIA) developed for the aerospace industry.
"I wanted to evoke the rock 'n' roll experience without being too literal about it."
- Frank Gehry, architect
"What was different about this job? Everything!"
- Colin Fowler, sprinkler fire protection foreman