Ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry work­ing on LA River re­de­vel­op­ment plan

The China Post - - ARTS -

In­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ar­chi­tect Frank Gehry is work­ing on a master plan to re­de­velop the Los An­ge­les River in the western U.S. of Cal­i­for­nia.

The de­signer of the steel-clad Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall in Los An­ge­les and the Guggen­heim Mu­seum in Bil­bao, Spain, has been work­ing since last year on the long-run­ning restora­tion pro­ject, the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported.

A plan adopted in 2007 would re­store large parts of the 82-kilo­me­ter (51 miles) con­crete-lined storm chan­nel to its nat­u­ral con­di­tion while link­ing it to parks, bike paths and other public ar­eas as it winds from the San Fer­nando Val­ley to Long Beach.

Gehry’s work will be on de­sign el­e­ments that were left vague in the restora­tion plan, said Bar­bara Romero, deputy mayor for city ser­vices.

How­ever, many de­tails aren’t be­ing re­leased.

That irked one ac­tivist group, Friends of the Los An­ge­les River, which said it can’t en­dorse Gehry and wants a more grass-roots ap­proach to plan­ning.

“Last time there was a sin­gle idea for the L.A. River it in­volved 3 mil­lion bar­rels of con­crete,” the group’s leader, Lewis MacA­dams, told the Times. “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.”

The group also is con­cerned that Gehry’s in­put might in­ter­fere with fed­eral fund­ing for a US$1.35 bil­lion plan to re­store 18 kilo­me­ters of the river. That plan was en­dorsed last month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers.

Gehry’s of­fice did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Fri­day, the Times said.

The L.A. River Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Corp., the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion co­or­di­nat­ing the re­newal ef­fort, said Gehry’s work “will ex­pand upon the decades of im­por­tant work that has come be­fore.”

“Far from com­pli­cat­ing any other ef­forts, his work will com­ple­ment those ef­forts,” the or­ga­ni­za­tion said in a state­ment.

The choice of Gehry was praised by ar­chi­tect Kevin Mulc­ahy of RAC De­sign Build, which opened four years ago in a ware­house in a river­side neigh­bor­hood.

“It ends a years­long street fight over who might have the world­class vi­sion and world-class cap­i­tal to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive plan for trans­form­ing the en­tire river into a ... public space,” he said.

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