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Frank Gehry Wants to Incorporate All That Concrete Into His LA River Revitalization Plan

Image via <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomandrews/6925103840">Tom Andrews</a> / <a href="flickr.com/groups/75129402@N00/pool/">Curbed LA flickr pool</a>
Image via Tom Andrews / Curbed LA flickr pool

Last week, it was announced that starchitect Frank Gehry has been working for months on his own version of a plan to revitalize the entire LA River, 51 miles from the Valley to Long Beach, on behalf of the LA River Revitalization Corporation, but other than the flashy name, pretty much no details were revealed. Slowly, though, Gehry's approach is starting to come to light. Apparently, Gehry's big new vision hinges on turning the river from what is pretty much a runoff channel into a tool to reclaim the water that flows through the waterway, says the LA Times. "I think we're wasting a lot of water at a time when we need it," he said. But that won't mean stripping out the river's famous and detested concrete, controlling its flooding tendencies since 1938.

Gehry (who's been working pro bono) says he agreed to the LA River project "on the condition that they approached it as a water-reclamation project, to deal with all the water issues first." He wants to switch the river's main job from getting stormwater out to the ocean to holding onto and maybe even treating that water for reuse someday—a total overhaul of its decades-long mission. Something that's not going to change on the river, though? The concrete. At least, if Gehry (who is famous for his use of chain-link fencing and other industrial materials) has his way. In his view, the concrete, perhaps the most maligned visual feature of the river, is "an architectural feature ... I can see ways of incorporating it into what we're doing."

Aside from his vision for this water-capturing, still-concrete-covered waterway, Gehry brings the most to the river project just by being Gehry. He's got engineers, water experts, landscape architects, and a relationship with a tech firm that bought the architect's Gehry Technologies and has already produced a "a three-dimensional, so-called point-cloud model" for around 70 percent of the river that, when combined with high-definition photos, will provide a starting point from which all projects along the channel can build. Gehry would also bring his "force of personality" to the project, which could be used to "consolidate political support and fundraising efforts" for the river's future.
· Frank Gehry agreed to make over the L.A. River -- with one big condition [LAT]
· Frank Gehry Wants To Preserve the LA River's Infamous Concrete Walls [Gizmodo]
· Whoa: Frank Gehry's Working on a Master Plan to Revitalize the LA River [Curbed LA]
· 25 Photos of the Los Angeles River Before It Was Paved in 1938 [Curbed LA]