Crowning gift donated by the generous Lillian
Crowning its city in downtown Los Angeles, the stainless steel curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall shines in the Southern Californian sun. They shine in quick flashes that glance through characterless high-rise buildings, throwing astonishing reflections into a shady public park at the base. The building is a stunning piece of architecture, ripe for metaphoric interpretations ranging from a blooming flower to sailing ships. The Walt Disney Concert Hall’s very existence is a miracle of logistics and perseverance. The complex required 30.
000 drawings and 16 years of planning and construction to complete. Its designer, architect Frank O.Gehry delivers a bold statement to combine music, art and architecture into one extraordinary building. The seemingly chaotic building masses are anything but coincidental. The 2265 seat main hall was designed first.
After the appropriate form for the hall was found the rest of the building elements were skilfully grouped around its central volume, designing from the inside out. The Walt Disney Concert hall is the permanent home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is renowned to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world, providing both visual and aural relationship for an incomparable musical experience.The buildings vision and funding was a gift donated by the generous Lillian Disney in 1987 to build a performance venue serving as both a gift to residents of Los Angeles and an attribute to Walt Disney’s dedication to the city and arts. However, it was not until late 2003 that the building was open to the public. The Walt Disney Hall lived gracefully up to its expectations. It is the most remarkable work ever created in the history of Los Angeles by an architect living in his native city.
The hall’s colourful undulating exterior expresses the contemporary cultural values, its stainless steel forms unfold with superb lightness while the interior is womb-like and intimate. The building is a touching work of architecture with a strong ability to express a deeper creative conflict. It recognizes that ideal beauty hardly exists in an imperfect world. The Walt Disney Hall inhabits a special place in the evolution of Gerhry’s profession. The Disney Concert Hall poses glistening forms which erupt out with some kind of mad enthusiasm.This sets out an exciting mood as the layered surfaces from its lobbies and foyers drip out above the avenue similar to the petals of an exotic flower. The design additionally suggests a city that has been violently torn apart and gradually collecting itself together.
Its surfaces break open to give views of the interior from the streets with swooping steel floating above the entry that echoes the extra static curved facade of the neighbouring Chandler Pavilion. The wave like structures radiating from the inside are perhaps transcription of sound flowing outwards towards the street.A more open relationship with the public and the street has been expressed in Gerhry’s design as the restaurant and the lobby are situated alongside the Grand Avenue in the wake of glass panels. The passersby are invited into the magnificent building by a section of facade that seems to float over the sidewalk from above. Steel facade emerges on top of glass doors with a limestone wall extending along First Street.
This wraps around the buildings back forming a base for an upper-level, outdoor garden. The whole building works as a tool for seduction that lures the public into this progressively more intimate architectural experience.Furthermore, Walt Disney’s design is a pointed rejection of the cool, machine-inspired of the late Modernism.
Through it Gehry describes an architecture that is rooted in disorderliness of day to day’s life. He aims to break down the accepted prevailing social customs hence liberating the concept of creative imagination. On moving along and through the building, a clear impression of architecture entrenched in more intricate psychological aspect becomes apparent. Arrival via underground parking calls for riding a series of escalators up to the Grand Avenue lobby.
At the top of the stairway, light sifts down via a big skylight atop the stairway. Upon arrival at the lobby level, they are fleetingly reconnected with the outside life as a sweeping view opens up to the avenue. From here, there are a series of foyer balconies curving up through the interior. The forms wrap around the volume of the main auditorium. There is a curvy line of rose-colored marble bar that frame the edge of the narrow balcony at the third-level foyer.
Here, visitors can peer out to the intersection of 1st Street and Grand Avenue, or down to the main lobby.This view however, disappears as the space bursts up to the sky whenever one slips along the bar. The effect is outstandingly serene here creating a feeling like one is being momentarily poised between two worlds.
Disney Hall’s interior is organized in what is referred to as vineyard pattern with seats arranged around all four sides of the stage. The orchestra seats cascade down towards the stage in a series of terraces when viewed from the uppermost balcony. On either sides of the hall, two convex walls press in towards the stage with a series of staggered balconies rising up behind them.The entire composition of the hall is tied together by a bundle of large wood and brass organ pipes that bursts from between numerous more rows of seats behind the stage. The tension is nearly too much to tolerate. But it is relieved subtly by Gehry as he permits the forms to break open at the upper four corners of the room that glows with a soft, warm light on its white surface so performers can be viewed clearly and with ease. A framed view of the sky is provided by a large T-shaped window that is just behind the top balcony seats.
This room lies in the seventeenth century Baroque architecture of Francesco Borromini and Gianlorenzo Bernini since it has a precedent. Gehry’s intricate composition of convex and concave forms instills the space with an exquisite visual complexity like in Borromini’s S. Ivo della Sapienza in Rome. There is a heavenly play of light and shadow. In this case, Gehry is attempting to express something deeply personal. As a teenager, he moved to Los Angeles when his family was staggering on the edge of poverty. Gehry’s sister sometimes played the harp at night after dinner as a way of binding the family together.
As a result, music became a source of spiritual nourishment. Thus, it is not surprising that this hall emerged to be a model of democratic values. Since there are no private or VIP boxes in the hall, each seat provides its own unique view.
Gehry engages the audience in a remarkable communal experience by wrapping the seats so tightly around the stage. As a result, concert audiences become closely conscious of the orchestra and performances The building’s layered exterior peels apart to provide a perfectly framed view of the City Hall on the fourth-floor of the foyer.Doors lead out to the elevated garden on the opposite side of the building. A corner of the site is anchored with a mirrored stainless-steel Founders Room. On the northern side of the hall is the San Gabriel Mountains that is framed by glass facade of Water Department and power building and the back of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion while the downtown skyline rises in the near distance to the south. These urban elements become section of the architectural composition.
It is as though Gehry was pointing out moments of optimism in downtown’s hard-edged urban scenery.His objective was to change our view of the city by suggesting its untouched hidden secrets. Through the innovation of Gehry’s design the city of Los Angeles now enjoys one of the finest concert halls in the world, as well as an internationally recognized architectural landmark. From the stainless steel curves of its striking exterior to the state-of-the-art acoustics, Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, is one of the most unique buildings ever built in the history of musical show casing and performances.