The design process for the Walt Disney Concert Hall unfolded across countless models, both physical and digital, and numerous sketches.
Photo by Adam Latham courtesy of LA Phil
ate in 1988, four designs submitted to the competition for a new concert hall in downtown Los Angeles were first unveiled to the public. Directly adjacent to the Music Center, the proposed Walt Disney Concert Hall was made possible by a $50 million gift by Lillian Disney in honor of her late husband, and the future hall was intended to serve as a new dedicated home for the LA Phil.
Perspective Rendering for Frank Gehry's entry to the Walt Disney Concert Hall Competition
Of the four finalists in the competition, Frank Gehry’s firm seemed to many to be an outlier: although his team had been involved in increasingly large-scale public and cultural projects by this point, Gehry was still largely known for his work with bold forms and experimental, though commonplace materials including chain-link fencing, stucco, cardboard, and unpainted plywood, none of which seemed appropriate to the design of a civic monument like a concert hall. Gehry’s office, however, devised schemes for the Concert Hall which managed to strike a careful balance: refined, yet informal, serious, yet inviting, the design was deemed befitting of a concert hall which would suit the unique cultural landscape of Los Angeles, and a few weeks later in 1988 it was announced as the competition’s winning entry.