Revitalizing the Los Angeles River | The Plan
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Revitalizing the Los Angeles River

Gehry Partners | Olin | Geosyntec Consultants

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the long-delayed satellite in Abu Dhabi, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Foundation Louis Vuitton cultural center in Paris have brought Frank Gehry global fame as one of the boldest, most creative architects of our era. But he has never forgotten his humble beginnings or lost his concern for the underprivileged. At age 92, he heads a flourishing office in southern California, working on major projects world-wide while contributing time and expertise to non-profit ventures close to home, notably the 2021 masterplan for the Los Angeles River. 
During his seven-year involvement with this project, he has channeled his passion for art and music into low-budget cultural facilities for L.A.’s Black and Latino communities. The newly completed Beckman Center for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles grew out of his deep friendship with Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a product of El Sistema, the youth orchestra of Venezuela. A former bank in the City of Inglewood was remodeled as a compact performance space, buffered from traffic noise by offices and practice rooms. The architects lowered the floor and raised the roof to achieve the optimum height of 14 m for excellence of sound, and the hexagonal space can be divided down the middle by a retractable screen to allow both halves to be used simultaneously.
The Children’s Institute in the Watts district, a new ground-up facility for a century-old charity, recalls an earlier phase of Gehry’s work. Simple, box-like volumes are stacked and clustered as they were in the 1992 University of Toledo Center of the Visual Arts. There, a goal was to break up the mass; here, the scale is much smaller. Rooms open off an atrium on two levels and the sense of openness is enhanced by the use of color and by natural light from a wrap-around clerestory. The Center offers counseling and therapy to abused children, giving them...

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