AIA CitiesWalt Disney Concert Hall
"I think exhilarating is what it's like to be in Disney Hall. It's exhilarating because it really acts on the senses... The informality of it makes it less imposing, more knowable...It feels like your feet almost never touch the ground."
Frank Gehry, mastermind of Disney Hall, is known for using warped forms in his designs. Refusing to abide by modern principles of architecture, Gehry rebels against the idea that form follows function. Mainstream ideas by no means dictate the mystical presence of his creation. Reflections of L.A. sunlight off of the matte finish and informal contour add to the aesthetic quality. Home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale, Disney Hall's acoustics played a major role in its construction.
The walls and ceiling are finished with Douglas-fir wood, and the floor is made out of authentic oak. Reverberation time within the hall is approximately two seconds while occupied. The magnanimous concert organ is one of the hall's most unique features. Striving to find a balance between musical practicality and cutting edge design, Gehry and organ designer Manuel Rosales eventually came to a consensus. The distinguished organ displays curved wooden pipes and is equipped with a closed-circuit television monitor, an attached console, and a detached, movable console.
Disney Hall, which exhibits overly exceptional acoustics and an inviting atmosphere, has been brought to life by numerous orchestra performances, concerts, and high-profile speaking engagements. It is not only a landmark for the postindustrial City of Angels, but also universally acclaimed. Disney Hall will forever be known for its extravagance and striking appearance.
At the onset of the Walt Disney Concert Hall project, Gehry envisioned a 367,000 square foot concert hall that would cover one square block of land. A donation of fifty million dollars was contributed to the project by Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney. Mrs. Disney did not quite understand the design of the building, but Gehry tried to incorporate as much of her input as possible. She was fond of flowers and gardens. Gehry decided to make a garden outside the hall and make the seats look like a garden as well. The entire structure was described by Gehry as a flower with many layers.
Construction of the hall began in 1992. Fundraising was stalled during the tumultuous times of the mid-1990s. Criticism of the building's design was also a factor in the project's abandonment. Fortunately, supporters of the effort were able to make private contributions and construction ensued. By the time the structure was completed in 2003, the project would cost roughly 274,000 dollars. The hall, encompassing 2,265 seats, officially opened on October 24th of that year. Just steps away from the hall are the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Also close by are the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Colburn School of Performing Arts, and the famous soaring Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.
Los Angeles Philharmonic
See more information on the LA Phil at Walt Disney Concert Hall.