It's been approved. A $90,000 facelift to dull a section of Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. AP | KTLA | previously |
From the Los Angeles Times
Disney Concert Hall to Lose Some Luster
Shimmering panels that woo some but also bake neighbors across the street will be sanded.
By Jack Leonard and Natasha Lee
Times Staff Writers
March 1, 2005, 3:28 PM PST
Officials decided today to make the Walt Disney Concert Hall a little duller.
Construction crews are set to take a hand sander to the some of the shimmering stainless steel panels that have wowed tourists and architecture lovers but have baked neighbors living in condominiums across the street.
Beams of sunlight reflected from the hall have roasted the sidewalk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to melt plastic and cause serious sunburn to people standing on the street, according to a report from a consultant hired by the county.
Residents as well as office workers who stroll past the hall cheered the Board of Supervisors' unanimous approval of the project.
"I will just appreciate not having the glare," said condo resident Jacqueline LaGrone, who said her air conditioning bill doubled during summer months since the Disney Hall opened and that she can't use her patio.
"It's about time," said Sheila Nixon, a Department of Water and Power employee who regularly walks around the hall for exercise. "We feel like ants under a magnifying glass."
Architect Frank Gehry's firm agreed to make the fixes, which affect a portion of the polished stainless steel panels atop the Founders Room and a marque hanging over the entrance to the Roy and Edna Disney California Arts Theater (REDCAT). Those sections of the hall produce the heaviest glare because the famously curved corners magnify the sunlight, bouncing light off each other and into a beam.
While most of the hall is clad in duller brushed steel, these areas contain a much more reflective polished steel surface.
When the work is completed later this year, the sanded portions of the surface will look more like the brushed steel than the polished steel.
The effort is already setting off a debate about whether it's right to alter one of Los Angeles' architectural icons Ã¢â‚¬â€ especially just two years after the $274-million building was opened.
Pauline Saliga, director of the Society of Architectural Historians, said she doubts that the changes will drastically alter the hall's look, though she was surprised the original designs didn't consider glare as a possible problem. She pointed out that Gehry had to rework another landmark building, the library at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, after snow and ice slid off the curvy, stainless steel roof and crashed onto the sidewalk below.
"Even great architects make mistakes with materials and designs," she said. "I think you just have to admit it and you have to be pragmatic about it and alter that design if necessary. Architecture is a functional art form, so it really does have to function."
Others consider the changes unnecessary. "Let them get shades," said Charlotte Epstein, who was visiting the concert hall from New Jersey. "It think it's very interesting. It's very different. I would leave it the way it is."
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2005, The Los Angeles Times