I had driven passed this building a couple of times but never really payed too much attention to it. I just saw it as a beautiful piece of architecture, albeit very strange looking, but it peaked my interest. The building I’m talking about is the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is fairly new as it opened on October 24, 2003 but was in the making since 1987. Lillian Disney, Walt Disney’s wife, donated 50 million dollars in order to build a performing arts center to give back to the city of Los Angeles. The head architect on the project was Frank Gehry while the chief acoustician was Yasuhisa Toyota. These men worked together in order to build a visually appealing and unique building that provided for the best ambiance possible. The symbiotic relationship between the two’s work has been praised.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is by far the most impressive and expensive building in the Music Center. It cost an estimated 274 million dollars, 110 million of which were for the underground parking lot alone. It was paid by Los Angeles county and through the selling of bonds. However, the additional 164 million was for the building itself. The Disney family put up an estimated 84.5 million while the Walt Disney company put up an additional 25 million dollars. The remainder of the money was paid for by private donations. In contrast, the other three buildings costed 35 million dollars together in the 1960s.
Even though there is controversy on the morals of Walt Disney and the Disney cooperation, it doesn’t detract from the value and contribution of this music hall. The hall has been used for not only performances, but also movies, TV series, talk shows, etc., and even has its own restaurant. The Walt Disney Concert Hall remains as a valued and useful piece of architecture and will remain so for years to come.