Interesting facts about Walt Disney Concert Hall

walt disney concert hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, presenting the best in classical music, contemporary music, world music and jazz.

It is located at 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown of Los Angeles, California.

Walt Disney Concert Hall is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States.

It was designed by Frank Gehrya, a Canadian-born American architect.

Lillian Disney (widow of Walt Disney) made an initial gift of $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city. It was the largest single gift in U.S. history for a cultural building.

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.

Walt Disney Concert Hall opened on October 24, 2003.

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It has received wide acclaim for its excellent acoustics and distinctive architecture.

Walt Disney Concert Hall has a seating capacity of 2,265.

The first view of Walt Disney Concert Hall most people see is the curving stainless steel skin of the
building’s exterior.

Capturing the motion of Los Angeles, and representing musical movement, Gehry created an exterior composed of curvelinear forms that seem to dance both on and above the site.

My first attempt at photographing the Walt Disney Concert Hall building. Designed by the famous Frank Gehry (Dancing House in Prague), has only curved metallic surfaces. Difficult to photograph, I had a hard time recording the correct colors and can have a lot of contrast. I was there in the early afternoon so the light was still pretty harsh. ISO 100, 11mm, f5.6, (1/500, 1/2000, 1/125). Blended and tonemapped using Photomatix.

There are 6,500 stainless steel panels, no two of which are the same shape or size.

The reflective, stainless steel surface engages light as an architectural medium. The facade’s individual panels and curves are articulated in daylight and colored by city lights after dark.

The douglas fir tree like sculptural forms rising through the lobby were inspired by Lilian Disney’s love
for gardens. She once told Gehry that she wanted the hall to feel like a little old cottage in England
covered with vines.

walt disney concert hall lobby

In contrast to the cool steel of the building exterior, the auditorium conveys warmth and intimacy in its lofty sail-like curves and rich woods.

Designed as one large volume, the auditorium allows the occupants to be in the same space as the orchestra. This allows for a sense of intimacy within the hall.

walt disney concert hall inside

The hall is in a vineyard seating configuration. The vineyard style is a term used for the design of a
concert hall where the seating surrounds the stage, rising up in serried rows in the manner of the
sloping terraces of a vineyard.

The stage, made from Alaskan yellow cedar, provides resonance and can be configured to hold larger
performing forces by removing the first rows in Orchestra View.

walt disney concert hall stage

The calibration with Yasuhisa Toyota and many sophisticated acoustic studies produced a space described as having “acoustical clarity”.

The design of the hall included a large concert organ, completed in 2004. The organ’s façade was designed by architect Frank Gehry in consultation with organ consultant and tonal designer Manuel Rosales. Gehry wanted a distinctive, unique design for the organ. In all, there are 72 stops, 109 ranks, and 6,125 pipes; pipes range in size from a few centimeters/inches to the longest being 9.75 meters (32 feet)

walt disney concert hall organ

On the roof of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the quietest, most secluded gardens in all of Los Angeles. 45 trees represent six different varieties from Orchid Trees to Pink Trumpet Trees.

walt disney concert hall garden

In the middle of the garden is a fountain, shaped like a rose, made of roughly 8,000 pieces of
broken blue and white Delft china. The fountain honors Lillian Disney, the wife of Walt Disney, and was
designed by Frank Gehry in recognition of her incredible support for the creation of the Walt Disney
Concert Hall.

walt disney concert hall fountain

The concert hall houses celebrity chef Joachim Splichal’s landmark fine dining restaurant Patina designed by Belzberg Architects. Patina serves French and California cuisine.

In architect Frank Gehry’s original design, Walt Disney Concert Hall was intended to be clad in limestone. A prototype of a wall was even constructed and exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1992. But, after concerns about cost, the stone was replaced with steel.

Everyone thinks that Disney Hall is just Gehry ripping off his design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. But the design for Disney Hall came first. Frank Gehry delivered completed designs in 1991. Due to funding constraints, however, construction didn’t start until 1999. Meanwhile, Bilbao was completed in 1997.

The first ever movie premiere at the concert hall was in 2003, when The Matrix Revolutions held its world premiere

The Hall was spoofed in The Simpsons episode “The Seven-Beer Snitch”; Gehry voiced himself in the episode where the town of Springfield had him design a new Concert Hall for the town.

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