Thursday, November 21, 2013
Frank Gehry Back as Architect for Grand Avenue Project!
I haven't blogged about Frank Gehry being rehired by Related to design the Grand Avenue project after LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina rejected the vision presented to the Grand Avenue Authority for one reason.
Since 'everyone' already knew that - I assumed the story had already been reported. But - since it appears that story has not yet been reported, I will report that a much revised plan has been designed by Gehry and it will be filed with the City of Los Angeles on Monday.
I can also report, after seeing a presentation of the plans and the model, the new conceptual plan is a major improvement over the last site plan. The biggest - and best - change is how the project addresses Grand Avenue. Rather than having the entrance to the public courtyard being two narrow passageways on either side of the apartment building, the entire public plaza now sweeps out to the street - and the sidewalk - it all but physically pulls pedestrians off the sidewalk and into the space.
As for all the other changes, I'll address them when the renderings are made public next week
Other elements added to the project include a street/sidewalk landscaping plan for both sides of Grand designed to visually connect the two sides of street and an overhead lighting element which is being considered to also help connect the two sides of the street.
As for the other goods news, beyond Gehry being back, a hotel is in the final stage of negotiations to anchor the project. And after they formally sign-on (and they are already involved in the design) their participation will enable the entire block to be designed and built at the same time.
That then still leaves the two big questions.
Can Related afford to build a Frank Gehry design in today's financial climate - and will the design be any good if they can afford to build it? Based on what I saw and heard, I'd say yes to both questions. The design is both striking and simple at the same time. It looks like nothing ever built in LA and yet still feels very much like an LA building. And what the Gehry Partners architectural team has designed, Gehry Technologies will be able to ensure can be built within a set budget.
And that is - finally - the best news of all.
This is finally a project which can not only be built - but it is also a project that should be built.