Frank Gehry Hired to Plan the Los Angeles River—Controversy Ensues

Details are scarce—but reports are that Frank Gehry has been working behind the scenes to create a new vision for the Los Angeles River.

2 minute read

August 9, 2015, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Los Angeles River

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

[Updated 08/09/2015] "Renowned architect Frank Gehry is working with Los Angeles officials in the public and private sector to draft a new master plan for the redevelopment of the Los Angeles River," reports Peter Jamison.

Details about the scope and style of Gehry's work are scant so far, but those invested in the vision laid forth in the 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan could have cause for concern: "Two sources who have seen a presentation on the plan by Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. officials said it appears to be a broad reworking of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan that L.A. city officials adopted in 2007 following extensive public input."

Jamison also reports that Lewis MacAdams, founder of the Friends of the Los Angeles River and a leading voice for the river for many decades, sent a letter objecting to Gehry's involvement. The letter includes the statement: "Last time there was a single idea for the L.A. River it involved 3 million barrels of concrete….To us, it's the epitome of wrong-ended planning. It's not coming from the bottom up. It's coming from the top down."

Details are also lacking about which public agencies are working with Gehry, as well as what political process would be required to adopt the plan, though

For more on the emerging controversy, see Alissa Walker's critical take on the news that Gehry is reworking the plan for the Los Angeles River, its watershed, and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Update: Christopher Hawthorne wrote an article offering more insight on the scope of Gehry Partners' work on the Los Angeles River. According to the article, the work focuses on the river's hydrology, not landscape architecture.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 in Los Angeles Times

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