Ten Years On, What Does Disney Concert Hall Say About Los Angeles?

As L.A.'s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall celebrates its tenth anniversary, Sam Lubell ponders how its shimmering stainless steel skin reflects the city's approach to architecture and urban design.

"In October Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall turns 10, and it’s an exciting anniversary," writes Lubell. "The dazzling building has become an international icon for the city, and for its revitalized downtown . . . . But in many ways it represents what’s still wrong with LA’s approach to building and planning."

The tourists from around the world that come to the Hall daily for its free tours "are greeted with hot sun, glare, and a rather unfriendly grand stair," laments Lubell. "And the hall stands on a street that to this day does not welcome pedestrians." 

"In celebrating this anniversary we need to embrace the kind of architectural innovation that Disney Hall represents, but demand equal urban innovation around it," he asserts. "In the next decade we need to ensure that world-class buildings continue to go up. But also that world-class urban life goes up around them."



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