Pedestrian plaza is part of the Calvin S. Hamilton Pedway:
"The Calvin S. Hamilton Pedway, as the system is formally known, is a network of elevated walkways that was first presented in the 1970 Concept Los Angeles: The Concept for the Los Angeles General Plan. Hamilton was the city planning director at the time, having taken the position in 1964. The plan, adopted by the city in 1974, promoted dense commercial developments connected to one another by a rapid transit system. The plan was abandoned in 1981 when federal funding for the project was eliminated. Hamilton stepped down from his position in 1985 after a criminal investigation."
"The pedways fall within the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, but the organization’s CEO says its strained resources can only cover maintenance crews on the pedways about once a week."
Bunker Hill Towers (aka Bunker Hill Apartments aka Bunker Hill Residential Towers):
Built ca. 1966–68.
Architect: Robert Evans Alexander.
Central City Community Plan Area, Freeway Adjacent Advisory Notice for Sensitive Uses, Greater Downtown Housing Incentive Area, Los Angeles State Enterprise Zone, General Plan Land Use= "Regional Center Commercial", Downtown Adaptive Reuse Incentive Area, Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project, w/in 500 feet of USC Hybrid High, Downtown Center Business Improvement District, Central City Revitalization Zone.
Assessed Land Val.: $15,262,053
Assessed Improvement Val.: $30,664,155
Last Owner Change: 04/01/98
Last Sale Amount: $18,080,180
Year Built: 1968
"The 19-story, Robert Evans Alexander-designed Bunker Hill Towers opened in 1968. After the demolition of 7,310 pre-existing homes and forced relocation of their residents, Bunker Hill Towers became the residence for nearly all of Bunker Hill’s remaining residents. More than a decade would pass before the nearby residential Angelus Plaza and Promenade Towers opened. Long before the redeveloped loft crowd discovered downtown thousands lived in such residences, including Cathay Manor, Little Tokyo Towers, and hardest to ignore, on the streets."
Robert Evans Alexander:
Walt Disney Concert Hall:
111 South Grand Avenue
Project search announced: 1987.
Initial design approved: 1988.
"Final" design approved: 1991.
Ground broken for the garage: 1992.
Hall actually built: 1999–2003.
Architect: Frank Gehry / Gehry Partners, LLP / Frank O. Gehry & Associates (“FOG/A”)
Executive Architect: Dan Dworsky / Dworsky Architects (at least initially, off the project by ’94)
Project Designers: Michael Maltzan (at least initially, left to start his own firm in ’95), Craig Webb (I believe).
Acoustic Design: Yasuhisa Toyota for Nagata Acoustics, with preliminary work by Minoru Nagata
Overall Project Management: Fred Stegeman for Stegeman/Kastner Inc. (initially until ca. ’95, I think)
Project Management w/in Gehry’s Firm: James Glymph (at least initially)
Structural Engineering: CBM Engineering (at least initially)
Garden Design: Melinda Taylor
Woodwork: Columbia Showcase (headed by Joe Patterson)
Software: Catia (by Dassault). (Primary responsibility for pushing for use of this software in Gehry’s office goes to partner James Glymph. During the later construction phase [2001–3], a 4D scheduling modeling system was also used that was developed by CIFE at Stanford and Walt Disney Imagineers, using Catia as its base, I think.)
Software consultants: C-Cubed (ca. 1991–94)
Client: A seven-member architectural search committee was set up by the Music Center in 1987 and chaired by Richard Koshalek, with Daniel Commins as acoustic advisor. In 1989, the twelve-member Walt Disney Concert Hall Committee was formally established and thereupon headed by Frederick M. Nicholas on a volunteer basis until about 1995. The land ("Parcel K") was owned by Los Angeles County and the County was represented in negotiations by attorney Richard S. Volpert, at least from 1989 to 1995. Sally Reed was CAO of the county for much of this period until 1995, but I’m not sure how directly involved she was with this project. The Philharmonic was initially represented by Ernest Fleischmann, managing director, with input from Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director. (In 2001, Debra Borda became the new head at the Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen remained music director.) Lillian Disney represented herself and her family as the single largest private donor until her death in 1998, with Diane Disney Miller also on the committee and serving as its vice-chair at one point. Sharon Disney Lund was also involved in the negotiations until her death in 1993. They also acted through the family attorney, Ron Gother. From 1995 to 1997, Harry Hufford served as volunteer full-time CEO of the committee, with Suzanne Marx his vice-president for development, and a mandate to save the project and recapitalize it. At various points, other committee members included Stuart Ketchum, James A. Thomas, and Ronald J. Arnault. Mayor Riordan was also heavily involved. Riordan brought in Eli Broad to help finance the completion. In 1996, Andrea Van De Kamp became the new chair of the Music Center. (Sheldon G. Stanfill was president of the Music Center in the early 1990s.) In 1997, a new oversight committee was formed, with Eli Broad and Diane Disney Miller as chief guiding members. In 1998, William Siart, a member of the oversight committee, became chair of the main committee (the legal entity at the center of this confusion).
Financial auditing/oversight: Hines Interests (beginning in ’94, with Bruce Frey heading this work).
Owner: The County of Los Angeles, with the facility operated by a nonprofit under a Master Lease Agreement. (I believe this is an accurate summary of the situation, but I am not fully certain. The agreement is complicated and I believe it involves a sublease back to the County that obliges it to provide building and grounds maintenance, and then another subsublease to the organization that runs programming, which has subleases to the Philharmonic and the Music Center. So if I’ve made a muddle of that, I apologize.)
Major Donors: Lilian Disney, Eli Broad, The Disney Corporation, Ron Burkle, The Ralphs/Food4Less Foundation, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, The Times Mirror Foundation, Richard Riordan, Roy E. Disney (specifically for REDCAT), Pacific Bell Foundation, and Deloitte & Touche. (The County also provided significant funds to the parking garage.)
Current home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Features an organ with 72 stops, 109 ranks, and 6,125 pipes, co-designed by Frank Gehry and Manuel Rosales, with assistance from Kevin Gilchrist, and built by Caspar Glatter-Götz, with engineering assistance from Heinz Kremnitzer. Early in the process, a special committee was formed (with Cherry Rhodes, Robert Anderson, and Michael Barone serving)—just for finding the right organ designer, settling on Manuel Rosales in 1990. Michael Barone also served as a consultant during the final design process.
"In 1982, the family company, Retlaw Enterprises, sold the rights to Walt Disney’s name and likeness to the Walt Disney Co. for $47 million. That money was put aside for an unspecified charitable gift. . . . In 1987, Music Center then-Chairman F. Daniel Frost, who had been Walt Disney’s tax attorney, presented Lillian Disney with Los Angeles Times articles detailing the Music Center’s desire for a new concert hall. Disney readily agreed to donate her funds. At the time, Frost was the son-in-law of Music Center founder Dorothy Chandler and was a board member of Times Mirror, parent company of The Times. He has since divorced and has left the Times Mirror board."
The 1987/88 idea to use Parcel K for a new Philharmonic was not without significant opposition, including that out the outgoing CAO of the county, Jim Hankla, and architect Barton Myers, who both proposed that the new concert hall be built on the L.A. mall:
"Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city. . . . Upon completion in 2003, the project cost an estimated $274 million; the parking garage alone cost $110 million. The remainder of the total cost was paid by private donations, of which the Disney family’s contribution was estimated to $84.5 million with another $25 million from The Walt Disney Company. By comparison, the three existing halls of the Music Center cost $35 million in the 1960s (about $190 million in today’s dollars). . . . The walls and ceiling of the hall are finished with Douglas-fir while the floor is finished with oak. The Hall’s reverberation time is approximately 2.2 seconds unoccupied and 2.0 seconds occupied."
It is worth pointing out that the final building hardly resembles the competition designs and models from the invited design competition in 1988 and substantially deviated from the 1991 designs and models in several key areas such as cladding and landscaping.
By the end, the design process apparently included over 30,000 drawings and models.
From an initial field of ca. 80 entrants, then winnowed to a list of 25, the other three finalists in 1988 were Gottfried Böhm, Hans Hollein, and James Stirling.
From 1990 to 1991, the project faced a lawsuit brought by a group called A Local and Regional Monitor, represented by Sabrina Schiller, which alleged that there had not been a sufficient review of environmental and traffic impacts. Gary Justice, Pamela Schmidt, and Helen Parker represented the project and defeated the lawsuit and appeal.
Another set of delays in 1990 came from a newer demand from the county that the site incorporate a hotel, in order to raise further revenue in the form of hotel taxes. Gemtel was to be the hotel developer and they were to bring in Ritz Carlton as operator. This was scrapped in 1991 when Ritz Carlton refused to agree to hire unionized labor and/or take on a living wage rule (the exact disagreement is somewhat unclear to me).
The 1991 models and other mock-ups premiered at the Fifth International Exhibition of Architecture at the Venice Biennale in 1991 to great acclaim, before being submitted for approval.
These mock-ups for the models were designed using Catia, "a 3D modeler made for the aerospace industry by Dassault, a French software company associated with IBM."
"At one point, someone estimated that the project had over 90 consultants."
During the first phase of the project, "a consortium of General Contracting firms, (Peck Jones, Turner Construction, and Obayashi) were selected to form the building entity, Concert Hall Builders." Yet I am not sure who the final constructing firms were.
In 1994, the cost estimate skyrocketed by $50 million and the project was put on hold pending auditing and financial review by Hines.
"According to committee budgets, some of the biggest increases in construction and material costs were in the steel framing, $8.6 million more than originally thought; in wood purchases and millwork, up $7 million, partly because of a decision to add interior wood; and in drywalling and plaster, up $4.9 million. ‘The drywall designed for this hall has curves and movement that don’t have any comparison to anything else that’s been built in this city,’ Nicholas said. ‘The people who were bidding the drywall had never seen anything like it, hadn’t had any experience with it. So they put a lot of contingencies in it and they bid it very, very high. A bright spot is the purchasing, cutting and installation of the exterior Italian limestone–a process Gehry has closely supervised. Bids on that stonework are reported to be $325,000 below its original $22.6-million estimate.’"
As described above, a major shake-up of operations occurred ca. 1995.
"Dworsky indicated, as a matter of tracking what happened to whom, it is quite simple, of all the major original participants (i.e. architects, engineers, builders, and project managers), no one survived except FOGA."
The garden, initially a major feature of the design brief, has all but disappeared. It is supposedly partially on the roof? I have no idea. I never much noticed a garden during any of my visits to Disney Hall, although I didn’t mind the landscaping I did notice. In any case, Melinda Taylor was a fairly late addition to the project.
"She came in after a number of other designers, including Philadelphia landscape architect Laurie Olin and Nancy Goslee Powers, who did the Norton Simon Museum’s garden, had come and gone on the job."
“‘Wow! Did I do that? Holy shit! Did I do that?’ Sometimes you look at it that way,” Gehry says, taking in the flowing ribbons of steel at street level and then gazing up at the luffing “mainsails” at the center of the building—forms which seem to defy engineering, and which were conceived by Gehry as squiggly lines on a piece of paper more than 16 years ago. . . . Gehry, probably the most famous architect in the world right now, and arguably the most important and influential, is a modest figure in a profession known for its massive egos."
"If Gehry lived in Idaho, we would see snowmobiles in his designs; he is an architect stuck in a feedback loop with his surroundings. As it is, he lives by the Pacific and owns a sailboat, and so it is seagoing vessels we see in his buildings: the boat-shaped main gallery of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the concert hall in Disney. ‘When I started Disney Hall,’ says Gehry, ‘I saw a show at the Toledo Museum in Ohio called In Praise of Ships in the Sea, and I got really excited about these shapes. I saw them in the wood ceiling I was already doing, and I brought them in.’ A metaphor took hold of Gehry: A concert was a journey, the hall would be a boat, the steel forms that shot into the air over L.A. its sails."
www.lamag.com/features/2003/10/12/how-disney-hall-redeeme… (quote on page 5)
For a student’s perspective on the use of nautical forms, see: couplarchideas.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/similarity-betwee…
www.latimes.com/news/local/cl-ca-uroussoff19oct19,0,64916… (Ouroussoff, 2003)
www.nytimes.com/2003/10/23/arts/architecture-review-a-moo… (Muschamp, 2003)
www.slate.com/articles/arts/architecture/2003/10/epic_arc… (Hawthorne, 2003)
www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1264860 (Stamberg, 2003)
www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2003/08/17/a-mighty-monume… (McGuigan, 2003)
www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/cl-et-swed1jul01,… (Swed, 2003)
www.businessweek.com/stories/2003-10-05/frank-gehrys-high… (Palmieri, 2003)
www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2003/oct/23/victory-at-… (Filler, 2003, paywall)
www.riprense.com/Silverstunt.htm (contrarian view, ca. 2003)
articles.latimes.com/2003/oct/25/entertainment/et-fisher25 (blurb round-up, 2003)
books.google.com/books?id=c2Kwa-EZR2IC&lpg=PA106&… (photo of opening night, 2003)
articles.latimes.com/1991-09-05/local/me-2333_1_walt-disn… (Isenberg, ’91)
www.nytimes.com/1992/12/13/arts/architecture-view-gehry-s… (Muschamp, ’92)
books.google.com/books?id=rF0EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT72&lp… (’96, scroll back a page or two for the start of the article titled "Why L.A. Hates Frank Gehry")
www.laweekly.com/2003-10-30/music/organomics/ (on the organ, 2003)
www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-et-disneyhall6… (Swed, 2008)
www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/frank-geh… (Frances Anderton)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ-Kf3sJfok (ca. 5 minutes)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRjnoNkaJUs (+1 hour long talk with Frank Gehry and others about him and the Los Angeles arts community)
Was a partner at Gehry’s firm for 19 years (ca. 1989–2008) and was founding CEO of Gehry Technologies.
"In the 1980s, he worked with LMN Architects in downtown Seattle, heading the team that designed the San Diego Convention Center."
www.miamialum.org/s/916/interior-3-col.aspx?sid=916&g… (scroll down to "Edges Torn Open")
businessmodelalchemist.com/blog/2010/09/on-business-model… (scroll down for video)
I feel the need to point out that though Dan Dworsky is currently rather maligned within the Los Angeles architectural community, especially for his involvement in this project, he’s directly responsible for my favorite Bunker Hill buildings, the Angelus Plaza senior housing complex, as well as the very decent Figueroa Courtyard. The vision of a revived Bunker Hill with more than just tall glass boxes of office space owes a great deal to his efforts over the years.
A rising star in the California architectural scene, recently garnering praise and awards for his New Carver Apartments for the Skid Row Housing Trust. A building that provides transitional housing for the recently formerly homeless, it’s one I don’t like for a number of nit-picky reasons, but whose social conscience I credit. One of his most prominent commissions was for another performance hall—Mashouf Performing Arts Center for SF State. My favorite of his works is the Billy Wilder Theatre at the Hammer, which is a great size for films they screen and makes me think every time that I’ve snuck inside a fancy, sexy lipstick holder from the late 1980s: hot pink, sleek black, kiss kiss. I also think he did a wonderful job with MoMA QNS, the temporary (and more fun) home of MoMA while the main building was being revamped during the early 2000s.
"Michael Maltzan established his independent practice in Los Angeles in 1995. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (1985) and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (1988), he worked briefly in Boston for Schwartz/Silver Architects and then for Machado and Silvetti Associates. . . Then in 1988, Maltzan moved to California, where he joined the office of Frank Gehry. . . In Gehry’s office, Maltzan worked on the initial design stages of the acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall (1988–2004) for Los Angeles and was project designer for the tautly elegant Vontz Center for Molecular Studies (1993–1999) at the University of Cincinnati."
Senior partner (currently?) at Gehry Partners and the main designer assigned to Disney Hall after Michael Maltzan left the firm.
Before joining Gehry, Webb worked at Albert C. Martin & Associates and Barton Myers Associates.
"The 125-employee office is structured like a pyramid, with Gehry delegating creative work to two principal architects: Webb and Edwin Chan, who oversee design and direct project teams. . . . And while Bilbao was the defining project for Chan, Disney Hall belongs to Webb. ‘There’s a lot of him in there,’ says Gehry. . . . ‘They’re different personalities,’ says Gehry. ‘When Craig makes stuff, it’s more real. Edwin is more outgoing with people,’ he continues. ‘He seems to enjoy dealing with clients, the personal stuff. It’s different than how Craig does it. He is a little shy or reticent, not as gregarious. He gets a little fussy sometimes. Like everybody else, he gets insecure.’ . . . Gehry describes the younger architect as intuitive, with good communication and analytical skills and what he calls excellent ‘hand-eye coordination’ — the ability to see, explore and realize Gehry’s ideas. ‘He can play with me on that level.’"
Landscape designer, married to Craig Webb. This seems to have been her single largest project, although she has also worked on smaller projects and private gardens in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Nicholas:
"Frederick M. Nicholas, an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of California since 1952, is a specialist in Real Estate Development and Leases. He is President of The Hapsmith Company, a Real Estate Development Firm with major interests in Northern and Southern California."
Frederick Stegeman (d. 2009):
"Hufford served as the chief administrator for Los Angeles County from 1974 to 1985 and worked as interim chief administrative officer in Ventura County from December 1999 to ."
"As CAO, Hufford was responsible for preparation and presentation of the County budget to the Board of Supervisors; administrative supervision of County departments; and management studies."
Prior to being named acting CAO in 1974, Hufford had spent almost his entire career, with some interruptions, working in the staff of the CAO office, beginning initially in 1953.
He also served as an administrative officer at Gibson Dunn, and as a past president of the Music Center.
In 2001, he won the Earl Warren Public Service Award.
In 2003, there was a settlement in a sexual harassment suit against him.
A discussion on the 1979 Bunker Hill CRA competition and Gehry’s participation in that. Most of the proposed projects mentioned did not get built:
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