Visit Walt Disney Concert Hall – A Great Architectural Experience

As many people know, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a landmark located at the heart of Los Angeles, CA. It was built by famous architect Frank Gehry, opened on October 2003. Although many people know how it looks and what it is used for, not many people have visited it, and thus, not many know how it feels when you visit it. A great architectural piece is about to speak for itself!

Does Form Really Follows Function?

The first thing mostly comes to mind when thinking of the Walt Disney Concert Hall building is the flimsy distorted aluminum cubes, hardly anything else. And yes, it just looks as arbitrary crazy volumes as you think.

For me, after visiting the building in-person, when I think of Walt Disney Concert Hall, I always remember the serpentine paths that makes your tour around the building. The best part is the outside path that sneaks in between building masses and climbs up their roofs. It is well integrated to make function works along with the complicated form. To me, this is fantastic as it gives thoroughness, depth, and purposeful meaning to the form.

The wide inviting public stairs is your first host to the building. They take you straightly to the main entrance, so this may fool visitor to think there is nothing else to wander for.

Have You Noticed Any Trees Around?

While there is nothing indicates any care for landscape architecture and use of vegetation in the front end of the building, which is a shame, the moment you step into the back end of the building, you suddenly find yourself in a carefully designed piece of landscape architecture. You can find it by taking the side public stairs, left to the main entrance.

It starts with a black spiral stripe integrated in the floor pavement. The stripe inscribes a train of words, an acknowledgment to those helped the project to come true. This spiral is neatly located between low bushes, under a canopy of high trees, and next to a seating area where many flourishing colored flowers are watching you. The diffused light bouncing off the building makes it irresistible to sit there and meditate about what’s going on.

The second landscape architecture masterpiece is the layered mosaic fountain. Laid out on the backyard of the building, colored with blue and white mosaic pieces, and of course full of water, the fountain beautifully spreads next to big tree canopy with a view to some of LA tall buildings.

Structural Fight Against Form

Here is where it gets really messy. There is no way to make it ever simple, but more and more complex details. The brave architect has nothing here but to “publish” his “novel” of construction details to be able to control the complexity of the design in order to have a qualitative result. And there is where the hard work/money goes.

Edit ImageHowever, while you wander around, you may not see it that messy. That is because the architect aesthetically hides and reveals the complex form/structure of the building. From a personal point of view, this balance is important to not overwhelm the reader with too much complexity. This is also true from financial point of view. The architect could compensate the expensive structural work with simple finishing.

Because it is a concert hall though, some interior spaces have to get their share of luxury, but also in the form of complexity. The performance spaces make use of the distorted walls to improve their acoustic qualities, which is a clever way of integrating form and function. There are other cases, however, that only made for decoration purposes, such as the columns in the front lobby.

By the End of the Day

My visit did not coincide with an event that housed a performance, so I cannot express how the spatial sequence into a performance would be there. There are other matters to cover, such as lighting, acoustic performance, that I didn’t have the chance to clearly reveal them.

There are endless matters to talk about, but still, the most significant experience that stick in mind is the hard work dedicated to integrate the chosen form into a structure that offers a qualitative light and sound, as well as a unique experience of that piece of architecture.

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