Frank Gehry’s model for the proposed Colburn School concert halls and plaza. Photo courtesy of Gehry Partners LLP, Shimahara Visual.

Architect Frank Gehry Reveals Designs for New DTLA Concert Halls

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Frank Gehry, the designer of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, has unveiled the architectural renderings for his latest downtown L.A. project: an expansion of the Colburn School campus that includes a glass-enclosed, 1,100-seat concert hall for full-scale orchestra performances and a 700-seat studio theater for dance and opera shows, among other classroom and artist spaces.

A rendering of both Colburn venues, which will be located at 2nd and Olive streets in downtown L.A. Photo courtesy of Gehry Partners LLP, Shimahara Visual.

The new venues will join the lineup of cultural centers that currently span Grand Avenue, such as The Broad, the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Music Center, and complement Gehry’s $1 billion mixed-use development, the Grand, which is currently under construction and will eventually feature restaurants, apartments and shops.

“The expansion of the Colburn School fills an important addition to the long-held dream to create a cultural district in downtown Los Angeles,” Gehry said in a Colburn press release. “The young musicians, dancers, and performing artists will add to the vitality and excitement of the existing cultural organizations.”

A rendering of the larger Colburn venue designed by Frank Gehry. Photo courtesy of Gehry Partners LLP.

The 200,000-foot expansion comes with a $310 million price tag, but with the financial uncertainty created by the coronavirus, developers have paused all fundraising efforts until further notice. According to Sel Kardan, Colburn’s president and chief executive, planners are open to considering public and private funding proposals, and a major donor would be capable of reviving the development.

A rendering of the smaller Colburn venue designed by Frank Gehry. Photo courtesy of Gehry Partners LLP.

To design the two halls, Gehry collaborated with Yasuhisa Toyota, the chief acoustician who worked on the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The larger venue will feature a round interior and “sound leakage” that allows outside passersby to hear music emanating from within, while the smaller venue will have a steep, box-like feel better suited for more intimate visual performances.

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