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Gehry's Plans for Los Angeles River Restoration Gaining Clarity

Details are emerging in the controversial effort by Gehry Partners, LLP to plan a new vision for the Los Angeles River. So far, however, Gehry Partners seems to have been listening more than plotting or drawing.
June 20, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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[Updated 06/21/2016] "The design team working with architect Frank Gehry on a controversial new master plan for the Los Angeles River has begun to introduce its work to the public — but in a noticeably cautious and low-key way," according to an article by Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne.

So far the introductions haven't included any design proposals, but rather "upbeat, informal listening sessions" and a new website (also sans design concepts) expected to go online on Tuesday, June 21.

According to Hawthorne,

The quiet rollout suggests that River LA is less interested in giving a clear picture of what Gehry’s plan eventually may include than in tamping down charges that it has been born of secrecy — and worries that it may operate as a Trojan horse, a kind of high-design architectural cover, for rampant real-estate speculation in communities along the river.

Hawthorne has, however, pulled what details are available into a summary of what the city of Los Angeles might expect from the Master Planning process as it takes shape. Hawthorne has taken an early look at the new website [Update: the LA River Index website is now online.] ] and has attended one of the three recent "listening sessions" for insight into Gehry's planning work. Still unclear, however, is how the effort by Gehry Partners will influence the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, approved in 2007, and a primary building block for the federal effort to restore 11 miles of the river at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion.

An important note on a familiar name for those familiar with the ongoing rethinking of the Los Angeles River: the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation has rebranded with the name River LA, as referenced above. River LA hired Gehry Partners for the new planning work, with the blessing of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Published on Monday, June 20, 2016 in Los Angeles Times
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