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Very Very Gehry

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Frank Gehry has been given the opportunity to intensify his (sort of) Hometown Hero status in Downtown Los Angeles instead of recent Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne of Morphosis.

Related Companies, the developer chosen by committee to handle the Grand Avenue Project, has selected Gehry to be the lead architect of a high rise and initially oversee design for several other buildings -- all part of the $1.8 billion complex adjacent to his insta-landmark Disney Concert Hall. The details of Gehry's involvement remain to be ironed out. But planned buildings at this point include what’s being dubbed "the iconic tower" at Grand Avenue near 2nd, two residential towers with mixed use retail and entertainment facilities, a residential multi-story tower of considerable height on Olive, as well as a few other proposed transit-oriented structures.

It’s unlikely that the selection of Gehry will cause much controversy in Los Angeles. (In comparison, check out the lively discussion that ensued when sister site Gothamist posted about public response to Gehry Partners’ schematics for the Nets arena plus major new development in Brooklyn.) Renzo Piano is super busy re-designing just about every art museum in the country, while Gehry’s stamp will be seen on these major swaths of cityscape.

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It’s easy to get the feeling that Gehry’s association with a project is considered redevelopment panacea -- in our case, the “Bilbao effect” meets Disney Hall hype hangover. Is this choice a good thing for Los Angeles, or are we blinded by the titanium-reflected light?