LOS ANGELES — In the shadow of architect Frank Gehry’s soon-to-be completed Grand Avenue complex lies the Colburn School, which is now about to get its own Gehry-designed expansion called the Colburn Center.
What You Need To Know
- Plans, renderings and models were recently unveiled at the Colburn School
- Over its 72-year history, the Colburn School has prided itself on diversity and inclusivity
- Kohl Hall is the centerpiece of the facility
Plans, renderings and models were recently unveiled at the Colburn School for the 100,000-square-foot, $350-million education and performance facility. Gehry was on hand to talk about how he has strived to bring audiences and performers closer together through architecture over the years.
“I’ve always been looking for ways to make that connection closer and closer, and the music world is looking that way,” Gehry said. “The idea of not having a raised stage, that now you’re going to be sitting right with the musicians, it breaks those barriers.”
By pushing the envelope of what a performance and educational space can be and opening it up for maximum versatility, Gehry said music students will feel a greater connection in their performance practice — as was his goal with The Walt Disney Concert Hall.
“[The performers] feel the audience,” he said. “They feel the adulation, the warmth. It’s just there, and that makes them play better.”
The Colburn Center is projected to be completed in 2025. Along with the Gehry Partners, LLP-designed Disney Hall and the Grand complex, which are within a block of each other, downtown’s Grand Avenue complex will have the highest concentration of Gehry’s architecture in the world.
The development of the area answers the late Eli Broad’s question: “‘Could we create a cultural street with Grand Avenue?’” Gehry said. “[Broad] was pushing that from way, way back.”
Over its 72-year history, the Colburn School has prided itself on diversity and inclusivity. The school’s president, Sel Kardan, said the new facility will only expand on those ideals.
“The core principles of school since its founding has been this notion of breaking down barriers and providing access, access to anyone with an interest in the performing arts,” Kardan said. “Geography financial barriers should not be an obstacle to experiencing very, very high-quality education in the arts. Kohl concert hall [named after donors Terri and Jerry Kohl] and the wonderful dance facilities are just the next iteration, the next manifestation of that.”
Kohl Hall is the centerpiece of the facility, a 1,000-seat concert hall that will feature state-of-the-art sound design by Nagata Acoustics, who also worked on Disney Hall. The hall is also designed so that performers can appear not just on the center stage, but in areas above and around the audience as well.
“The most important thing is: Can the building open [the students’/audience’s] eyes and hearts to an experience that’s different?” Gehry said.