Thursday, June 18, 2009

Disney Concert Hall

Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, completed in 2003, is already one of the L.A.'s most recognizable buildings. The distinctive concert hall is credited with helping to spark the recent revival of downtown Los Angeles.

A view of the concert hall from the Department of Water and Power across the street:

Disney Hall was first comissioned in 1988 and ended up taking 15 years to build due to planning and funding set backs. Although Gehry's similar museum in Bilbao was completed before Disney Hall, the design for the concert hall predates the design for the museum.

Here is a view of the building from the roof of the county courthouse across the street:

Frank Gehry is one of two Los Angeles-based architects who have received architecture's highest honor, the Pritzker Prize. Gehry was the 1989 Pritzker Prize laureate and Thom Mayne of the architectural firm Morphosis was the 2005 laureate.

The concert hall includes a gift shop, cafe, terrace garden, and an outdoor children's theater. Gehry designed a rose-shaped fountain made of Delft porcelain in the garden dedicated to the building's patron, Lily Disney:

Gehry choose shiny steel for the building's exterior to compliment the bright Southern California sunshine. When the hall was first built, many neighbors complained about the building's blinding reflective surface and parts of the exterior had to be coated in a special substance to make them slightly less reflective.

From the garden terrace, there is a rooftop walkway that winds up the exterior of the building behind the curved facade:

The concert hall's 11,000 tons of curved steel were put in place with the assistance of a sophisticated aerospace software system similar to GPS. You can see the complex supporting beam system behind the facade:

Here is a view of the concert hall from the viewing deck at City Hall:

The interior of the hall has received universal praise for its design and advanced acoustics. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get inside the auditorium yet. A few interior pictures are available at the Music Center website.

Disney Concert Hall is located near Civic Center on 1st and Hope in downtown Los Angeles:

View Disney Concert Hall in a larger map


  1. What a gorgeous sinuous building. His new building on the West Side Highway in NYCity glows beautifully at night through windows that are partially "clouded". There's a great view of this from the newly opened "High Line" park.

  2. Did you made the self guided audio tour? I made this 3 or 4 years ago. Isn't it crazy that the Delft porcelain factory didn't gave them second quality and they had to buy regular first quality to breakup for the fountain. By the way, is the roof of the courthouse open to the public? I only know that the platform of the city hall could be visited.

  3. Wow, you got some great shots. It's a strange looking building in the middle of the city, but it definitely adds its own charm.

  4. The roof terrace of the county courthouse is open to the public. You can enter the courthouse at 110 N. Grand between 1st and Temple. The cafeteria and terrace are on the 9th floor accessible by elevator and escalator.