The Colburn School, Los Angeles' renowned school for music and dance, has unveiled architectural designs by Frank Gehry for the Colburn Center, a 100,000 square-foot campus expansion that aims to inspire and promote the region’s young performing artists and organizations. The center will serve as a cultural and civic hub in the heart of Downtown LA through public programs, as well as performance and educational collaborations with local and touring artists.
Situated across the intersection of Olive and Second Streets from the Colburn School’s existing campus, the Center will compliment and complete both its facilities and its architecture, which have already supported over 500 performances a year since its inauguration. The new complex, which is expected to break ground in 2023, is set to complete the largest concentration of Gehry-designed buildings anywhere in the world, joining the soon-to-open mixed-use project, The Grand, and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The firm's design welcomes both students and visitors with a composition of transparent and opaque interlocking blocks that step down into the natural outline of the site. The expansion features a 1,000-seat concert hall with an in-the-round design to promote a closer visual relationship between the performers and the audience, putting front-row seats at eye-level with the performers. The hall will also be equipped with an orchestra pit and a stage large enough to accommodate the grandest orchestrations.
Four professional-sized dance studios and a 100-seat flexible studio theater are wrapped with glass facades, providing visual access to dance training and performances taking place inside. Although these dance facilities will have a separate entrance and distinct character, their architectural identity and material selection help them harmonize with the project's structure.
The Center will be equipped with multi-media technology and production equipment, including commercial-quality recording and streaming facilities and performance spaces. As for the public spaces, an outdoor plaza will be part of the project to give visitors a front-row seat to the performing arts. Gardens will be allocated throughout the site to provide much-needed green space and pedestrian access to nearby public transit hubs.
In 2018, Sel Kardan, the President and CEO of the Colburn School, announced that Frank Gehry has been selected to design a campus expansion, adjacent to its existing facilities in Downtown, Los Angeles. The expansion site, located on Grand Avenue, will become the newest neighbor to other notable projects including Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum, Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, Isozaki's Museum of Contemporary Art, and just a few blocks away from Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and Coop Himmelb(l)au's High School #9.
The expansion project is done in collaboration with Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, chief acoustician for illustrious concert halls. The project is expected to be complete in 2025.