Analyzing Famous Buildings: 01 Walt Disney Concert Hall

This week we are starting a series on analyzing famous architecture buildings. Exploring beyond the surface and interacting with the thoughts and ideas that make such amazing designs.

Today’s Topics

  • The Beginning
  • Designing from the inside out
  • The Face of The City

The Beginning

This project was made in honor of Walt Disney and his love for music.

His wife, Lillian B. Disney donates 50 million dollars as a gift to the Philharmonic to create a new concert hall in the heart of Los Angeles.

With 50 million dollars, there couldn’t be just any architect working on this project, it started off as a competition.

There were around 50 architects that submitted to the competition in which was narrowed down to 25, then 8, 4 and finally landed on the famous architect Frank Gehry.

Image from Pexels

Designing From The Inside Out

One of his first sketches outlines the vision that Gehry had when he was designing this project.

Image from Pinterest

It is an amazing feat how many of the concepts seen in this sketch, resulted in a masterpiece of a building.

Contrary to popular belief, this building was actually designed from the inside out.

The building is first a concert hall then the form works around the spaces that have been created

Image from Pinterest

As described by Gehry himself, he wanted to articulate the sound in a way that resonates and blends within the whole concert hall. Gehry was a regular concert goer, so he has already captured the essence of what a concert should look and feel like. During the opening concert, he sat in the back of the audience and felt the undertones of the bass player in a way that was perfected as part of the acoustical design of the hall.

Image from Mike Kelley

The Face Of The City-

Since the grand opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the metallic sweeping surfaces have changed the face of the city.

Image from Modlar

These surfaces were designed to be occupied as a single volume, creating a space where the audience joins conversely in awe with the music of the orchestra.

Off of the initial 50 million dollar donation, the concert had a final cost of 265 million dollars.

Image from Calisphere

This project endured some hardship because of the cost. At one point the building was on its way to never being complete. But with the vision and scope of this project being so large, it captured the hearts and minds of the people in the city to help fund the project and make it what it is today.

Among the many curves that go along the building to make one solid form that spans both inside and out, Frank Gehry calls this monument, the living room of the city.

Image from ArchDaily

Thank you for tuning into this week’s blog post. Stay tuned for next week as we dive back into another building! Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel as well, I’m working on an exciting project that I can’t wait to share with you guys!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

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