An interesting historical reference about Walt Disney Concert Hall – which is basically LA’s philharmonie.
The project almost bankrupted LA County budget. The Project managers for this scheme grossly miscalculated the cash, processes involved and an overall timeline. The building initiated way back in 1987 and was completed 16 years later in 2003.
The LA Country accounting department messed up big time while selling the bonds to fund the parking garage for the philharmonie… well done LA county. So if you ever wondered why Los Angeles roads in the middle of Down Town or pretty much anywhere else incudling highways are so bad…. well look at the magnificently shiny Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The project was initiated in 1987, when Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney, donated $50 million. Frank Gehry delivered completed designs in 1991. Construction of the underground parking garage began in 1992 and was completed in 1996. The garage cost had been $110 million, and was paid for by Los Angeles County, which sold bonds to provide the garage under the site of the planned hall. Construction of the concert hall itself stalled from 1994 to 1996 due to lack of fundraising.
Additional funds were required since the construction cost of the final project far exceeded the original budget. Plans were revised, and in a cost-saving move the originally designed stone exterior was replaced with a less costly stainless steel skin. The needed fundraising restarted in earnest in 1996, headed by Eli Broad and then-mayor Richard Riordan. Groundbreaking for the hall was held in December 1999. Delay in the project completion caused many financial problems for the county of LA. The County expected to repay the garage debts by revenue coming from the Disney Hall parking users.
Upon completion in 2003, the project cost an estimated $274 million; the parking garage alone cost $110 million. The remainder of the total cost was paid by private donations, of which the Disney family’s contribution was estimated to $84.5 million with another $25 million from The Walt Disney Company. By comparison, the three existing halls of the Music Center cost $35 million in the 1960s (about $190 million in today’s dollars).
Walt Disney Concert Hall walls blind LA’s residents !
After the construction, modifications were made to the Founders Room exterior; while most of the building’s exterior was designed with stainless steel given a matte finish, the Founders Room and Children’s Amphitheater were designed with highly polished mirror-like panels. The reflective qualities of the surface were amplified by the concave sections of the Founders Room walls.
Some residents of the neighboring condominiums suffered glare caused by sunlight that was reflected off these surfaces and concentrated in a manner similar to a parabolic mirror. The resulting heat made some rooms of nearby condominiums unbearably warm, caused the air-conditioning costs of these residents to skyrocket and created hot spots on adjacent sidewalks of as much as 140 °F (60 °C).
There was also the increased risk of traffic accidents due to blinding sunlight reflected from the polished surfaces. After complaints from neighboring buildings and residents, the owners asked Gehry Partners to come up with a solution. Their response was a computer analysis of the building’s surfaces identifying the offending panels. In 2005 these were dulled by lightly sanding the panels to eliminate unwanted glare.
Walt Disney Concert Hall with kids
So if you a commoner the best chance to enjoy the Building is on the outside. You will have a chance to snap a selfie and simply admire the beauty of Frank Owen Gehry’s (Frank Owen Goldberg) design from the streets. Otherwise if you’re able to shell out astronomical ticket sums with expensive parking you will join the ranks of few who have seem the marvel on the inside.