CULTURE


Disney Concert Hall- wavy stainless steel shaped hall

Baku, May 11, AZERTAC

The billowing stainless steel forms of the Disney Concert Hall occupy an entire downtown block in Los Angeles; that they house an auditorium seems improbable. Yet these curved, flared, and collided volumes have a visual “rightness” amid the sober boxes of corporate L.A. The stainless steel is mostly satin finished; the original concave, polished finish caused a problematic glare of sunlight, and it had to be altered.

The auditorium is essentially a rectangular box that sits within the block at an angle, disguised all around by the metallic volumes. Frank Gehry created billboard architecture on a spectacular scale throughout his career, and at one place he acknowledged this by exposing the steel armature that supports the panels. Despite a 15-year gestation and astonishing cost, the building is loved both by the city and by musicians.

During major events, the entrance doors can be fully retracted so the street seems to flow into the foyer. Inside, the spaces are generous and complex, the forms as extroverted as those on the outside. Timber “trees” disguise the steel frame and air-conditioning ducts. Roof lights are cleverly placed to bring daylight in and allow internal lighting to illuminate the external forms at night. The auditorium follows the “vineyard” layout, with the audience sitting in terraces around the stage, and it has a tentlike ceiling of Douglas fir. The signage in the building is delightfully subtle: externally, lettering is embossed in the stainless steel with a different grade of satin finish; inside, a wall honoring donors has stainless-steel lettering set into gray felt.

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