Architect Frank Gehry working on LA River redevelopment plan
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.