Gehry’s Selection As LA River Masterplanner Sparks Criticism

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A Southern California landscape architect is questioning why Frank Gehry was selected to lead the masterplanning work for the Los Angeles River redevelopment, citing a lack of skills and public input.

Duane Border, principal of an eponymous landscape architecture firm in LA, took issue with Gehry’s involvement in an viewpoint piece this week on Grime, the official blog for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Border is president-elect of the ASLA’s chapter in Southern California.

“The Los Angeles landscape architecture and style neighborhood was amazed by the latest announcement that Frank Gehry is producing a new masterplan for the redevelopment of the 51-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River that runs through the city,” Border wrote.

Frank GehryFrank Gehry

Prior to current media coverage, “there have been no public discussions about this new approach or the variety of the new style crew,” Border claimed.

Gehry was commissioned for the undertaking in 2014 even though his involvement was only just lately unveiled in a story in the LA Instances.

The 86-yr-previous architect – an LA resident since 1947 – will lead the masterplanning effort for the revitalisation of the river, a barren canal-like waterway that winds by way of the city.

His crew members will reportedly include Richard Roark, a spouse in the landscape architecture company Olin Henk Ovink, a Dutch water-management specialist and consultants from the engineering firm Geosyntec.

Gehry was commissioned by the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation (LA River Corp), a nonprofit entity formed by the city in 2008 to boost the river corridor and make it a desirable outdoor attraction.

In his opinion piece, Border questioned what will come about to an present scheme – the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Prepare (LARRMP) – that was accredited by the city in 2007.

The LARRMP was conceived by the engineering firm Tetra Tech with input from three landscape architecture companies: Civitas, Mia Lehrer + Associates, and Wenk Associates.


Connected story: Frank Gehry revealed as designer of masterplan for LA River


The scheme is meant to serve as a blueprint for how to control the river and was accredited by the LA City Council. Gehry will reportedly update the scheme.

“The strategy is deeply rooted in hydrology and ecology, aims to strengthen communities, and characteristics parks, trails, bridges, public and private amenities, and a lot more,” Border wrote.

“Landscape architects are uniquely educated in how to greatest traverse the nexuses among ecology, community, and layout,” he continued. “The Los Angeles River deserves the attention of landscape architects who have knowledge analysing and then creating visions for regionally scaled landscape techniques.”

“Architects such as Frank Gehry can definitely be useful in this method, but even he admitted he isn’t ‘a landscape guy’, ” Border additional.

Border explained the LARRMP informed a feasibility research by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is a federal agency.

The Army Corps later on issued a program dubbed Substitute twenty, which calls for restoring an eleven-mile portion of the river and enhancing public accessibility. The Alternative twenty program is now prior to Congress.


Connected material: see all our stories about Frank Gehry


Gehry’s appointment not only threatens Congressional approval, but it also portrays a disregard for public engagement and transparency, according to Border.

Border wrote: “The LARRMP was born out of grassroots efforts and planned with extreme local community participation. During public outreach, distinct projects have been identified and championed by the neighbourhoods most impacted.

“Any project of importance demands a transparent method, irrespective of who leads the work. To do well, the design and style process need to be overseen by all stakeholders and knowledgeable practitioners.”

Regional residents frequently bemoan the river, which has been described as an “unsightly and neglected drainage channel”.

In the late 1930s, the Army Corps covered the bed and banks of the free-flowing river in concrete, primarily transforming it into a canal. Its principal perform is to direct stormwater to the Pacific Ocean to assist avert flooding in LA.

The river usually has only a little stream of water and has grow to be a source of “industrial and residential discharge,” in accordance to neighborhood accounts. Environmental groups have long advocated for the river to be returned to its normal state.

Gehry unveils design for mixed-use development on LA's Sunset StripGehry unveils style for mixed-use advancement on LA’s Sunset Strip

The LA River revitalisation is 1 of numerous major tasks in the city creating headlines and signalling an architectural boom.

On twenty September, The Broad – a museum by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro – will open on Grand Avenue, across the street from Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Gehry has made a mixed-use advancement for the identical spot in addition to creating a 5-building complex on Sunset Strip near West Hollywood.

In Beverly Hills, Chinese company MAD is preparing its initial US task – a residential block modelled on a hilltop village.

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