Friday, July 15, 2005

My city worries me. The iconic, Disney-sponsored, Grand Avenue version of the Champs-Elysees is on its way to city-center. Frank Gehry will design a 40- or 50-story skyscraper next to his Walt Disney Concert Hall, and also design parts of a retail and commercial corridor.

L.A.’s Skyline to Get Gehry Touch

"He's provocative, he's controversial and unafraid," they say. "He is a visionary, and he needs to execute that."

Los Angeles has a long history of executions, as the lost communities of Chavez Ravine and Bunker Hill instruct us. Though the only communities currently threatened by this latest putsch, as far as I know, are parking lots and older retail buildings, the idea of a new engineered commercial corridor (mark that: commercial, not public) in downtown Los Angeles makes me edgy. Gehry is no Haussmann; after all, the redesign will compromise only several square blocks downtown, not the entire city. Then again, the entire city will be affected: a new skyline, new traffic flow, environmental factors. I’ve seen the horrors of The Grove and Universal City Walk and do not wish to see them cloned downtown. I presume at least the architecture will be better.

Moving sideways, Mike Davis describes one possible future for Los Angeles in present-day Dubai.

Sinister Paradise

Be sure to check out the artificial archipelago of The World and the future tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai.

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