The Los Angeles Times’ Christopher Hawthorne may have hoped for (and indeed hinted at the possibility) of Frank Gehry’s return to the Grand Avenue Project, the long-awaited plan to develop the stretch of land east of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but now the speculation has finally become fact. Speaking last week at a panel discussion meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Disney Hall, Gehry finally put the rumors to rest.
More details, after the break.
The Grand Avenue Project to develop a stretch of hotels, shops and public spaces on Los Angeles’ “Parcel Q” has had a rather complicated history. Gehry was the mastermind behind the original scheme; however, since the plan was “contingent on buy-in from high-end stores like LVMH and Apple,” it was dropped during the Recession. Then, New York developer Related Cos. was brought in – only to find their preliminary plans, designed by Gensler in collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern, rejected by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who, according to The Los Angeles Times, found them “uninspired and overly commercial.”
Re-enter Gehry, who, with the support of philanthropist Eli Broad of the Broad Museum (going up next-door to the Disney Hall as we speak), will help adjust the plans in time for Related Cos.’s new deadline of January. In Gehry’s words: “I think with his backing and the power of his presence and persona, and with a few other people, we are going to make it happen and we are going to make Gloria Molina very happy.”
According to Frances Anderton of KCRW, who reported from the panel discussion, Gehry’s priority will be to put Grand Avenue in conversation with the Disney Concert Hall, as well as the Arts District and the newly opened Grand Park, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, in order make the area as a whole a vibrant “cultural and commercial” destination. Panelist Deborah Borda (president and CEO of the LA Philharmonic) agreed, saying that the development must “be ‘aesthetically and intellectually’ compatible with the concert hall [...for the area to] achieve the ‘combustion’ it needs to come alive.”
Story via KCRW