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Can Frank Gehry Avoid Repeating Downtown Los Angeles’ Mistakes?

The high profile Grand Avenue project in Los Angeles’ Downtown Civic Center had been stuck in recession purgatory for years, until updated design plans by Frank Gehry were announced. Can the new development avoid the failures of Grand Avenue’s past?

Jack Skelley writes about the high hopes and potential pitfalls of the proposed $650 million Grand Avenue project, which recently received new life with a Frank Gehry design for a parcel next to the already-iconic Disney Hall.

“But let's also remember the problem that Grand Avenue was supposed to solve. Presently, the Music Center and Disney Hall preside over dead streets. For a cultural complex, it sadly lacks the street activity such a landmark should enjoy. Instead, concert-goers drive into underground garages, escalator up to the theaters and scoot back to their cars to return home.”

Skelley claims that while other parts of Downtown—like the Historic Core and the Arts District farther east—have thrived, Grand Avenue’s mix of cultural and office uses has not benefitted from the increased attention. “The question is whether Gehry and the other mega projects can, starting from scratch, capture the magic Downtown is already generating. Will they selfishly corral pedestrians? Will they be bunkers and monoliths? Will L.A. commit the same old errors?”

Full Story: Does Downtown Need Frank Gehry?


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