Frank Gehry has played a vital role in transforming the slice of Downtown Los Angeles surrounding its Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) into a thriving area for arts and culture. His 2003 Walt Disney Concert Hall proved to be a boon to the neighborhood, and a new project that will break ground in the fall—a mixed-use development just across Grand Avenue—is expected to do the same. Today, the Colburn School of Music, also located on Grand, announced that Gehry will design an approximately 200,000-square-foot expansion to its existing facilities between Olive and Hill at 2nd Street. The Colburn project will effectively increase Gehry’s stake in the creation of a cultural district in downtown LA—a realization the architect considers a “long-held dream.”
The Colburn School has also been an important participant in this effort. Dedicated to providing an accessible performing arts education for all ages, the institution first moved to its current 100,000-square-foot building in 1998; following the establishment of its Conservatory of Music in 2007, the school commissioned a 300,000-square-foot addition. Colburn has served an important part in connecting the broader community with cultural outlets, partnering with several organizations and schools to offer music instruction. The expansion, which will include a 1,100-seat concert hall, 700-seat studio theater,100-seat cabaret-style space, as well as an outdoor performance area, classrooms, and student housing, will support the school’s four academic units and a future vocal program. The concert hall will also give Downtown LA the medium-sized, professional-level concert venue that it currently lacks.
“I feel that it is an opportunity to further increase the school’s relationship to other cultural venues like The Music Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad, and MOCA. The young musicians, dancers, and performing artists will add to the vitality and excitement of these existing institutions,” said Gehry in a statement. “What we all dreamed about twenty years ago is now becoming within reach, and we will do our best to make it a proud addition.”