Since we're theoretically a music blog it seems appropriate to share this with you. Last week my wife and I returned to LA together for the first time since we left there about 15 years ago, we went as tourists, staying with friends and doing all the things we used to do back then. For the last several years I've been reading with interest about the work of architect Frank Gehry so the highlight of the week was a visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Philharmonic and designed by Gehry, I'm not a great fan of Disney nor his politics but I am interested in architecture and also in the new home of the LA Phil since I used to be a volunteer usher for them when I was a student in the '60's.
The new building is fabulous, it's more a piece of sculpture than a building, actually it is a building incorporated into a piece of sculpture. The sculpture is what you see from the exterior, enormous panels of curving stainless steel rising to the height of a 4-5 story building, it's dramatic and totally overwhelming. It's hard to conceive how a structure like this can be drafted to a sheet of paper and then be translated into a three dimensional entity by the builders so it was with great interest that we took the official guided tour which takes you behind the facades and into all the nooks and crannies where you can see how it's built.
The interior is just as dramatic as the exterior but in a totally different manner, there are acres of the finest grade Douglas fir walls also soaring several stories high and other walls of pure white overlapping like a Picasso or Braque cubist painting. At the center is the performance auditorium, a space that seats approx 2200 in an oval configuration around the orchestra, this is lined totally with wood, oak for the floors and Douglas fir for the walls. The hall's acoustics have been described in many reviews as being the best of any public auditorium in the world.
At the 4th floor level doors open onto a beautiful large roof garden with many trees that bloom throughout the year, a personal favorite of which there were many was the tropical coral tree, also known as the flame tree for it's vivid scarlet flowers. Many years ago I grew one from a seed.
If any of you ever visit LA this should be on your agenda of places to visit and you might also consider the Getty Villa, a beautiful money no object re-creation of a Roman Villa from the city of Herculanem, it's an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. It's in a beautiful location right on the edge of the Pacific in Malibu and it's free.
For more information on the Gehry building there's a review from when it opened by the LA Times architectural correspondent, it's at:
There's a folder of photos in the dropbox.