One of the most spectacular modern concert halls in the world designed by one of the most influential Canadian architects, this imaginative structure shines with grandeur, literally. Frank Gehry designed this building as a tribute to Walt Disney, who was famous for his love for music, arts and the city of Los Angeles, where the hall is located.
The construction of the building was started in 1992, finished in 2003 after numerous stalls and opened the same year in October with three fantastic Philharmonic Galas celebrating the completion of the $274 million structure located on the south end of the Music Center Campus in LA.
The Concert Hall is one of the most acoustically sophisticated buildings on Earth which provides the audience with a terrific experience. The acoustics were handled by chief acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, also famous for Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Bard College Performing Arts Center in New York and over 50 other projects worldwide.
The acoustic quality of the building was so much better than the old venue of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, that journalists referred to the new Hall as being a “pristine swimming pool” compared to the old “murky river” of Chandler Pavilion. The conductor even noticed never-before heard mistakes in the sheet music that the Philharmonic played for decades. The Main auditorium is panelled with hardwood and brings the orchestra closer to the audience. It is also wheelchair accessible and equipped with a system to help the hard-of-hearing.
In addition to being supreme to the ear, the building is a pleasure for eyes as well. It is designed to look like a ship’s hull, and to feel like one, as well. You will find only few right angles on this facade – its lively aerodynamic curves are shaped to give light and airy feeling. The exterior is made of stainless steel with a matte finish, with the Founders Room’s exterior given a highly polished glossy steel surface. Some of these surfaces had to be dulled in 2005 because the heat reflected off these parabolic-mirror-like panels made some nearby resident’s condos unbearably hot. And the local residents weren’t the only ones complaining, the buildings surfaces created 60 °C hot-spots on sidewalks close to the building.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall was largely financed by the Disney family and the Walt Disney Company and consists of the main auditorium, two amphitheatres, the BP Hall and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater with a 3,000-square-foot art gallery.