The LA River's in line to get a billion-dollar makeover on part of the waterway, but now it appears that the driving vision behind the eventual, inevitable overhaul for the river "from L.A. to Long Beach" could be master-planned by none other than starchitect Frank Gehry. The LA Times says that the architect, working with private and public sector officials, is drawing up a new master plan for the river—one based on the comprehensive plan already adopted to help steer the river's future. A presentation of the Gehry plan by LA River Revitalization Corporation officials reportedly included no specific renderings, and many of the details of the project are still unclear, especially the two most important ones: what it will look like and how much it will cost.
The Gehry-fied plan is said to be a "broad reworking" of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan that went into effect in 2007 ("following extensive public input") and that envisioned everything from public access points to the river, to design guidelines for the land alongside the waterway, to green space preservation.
Some long-time river advocates (probably some of the people who gave that extensive input on the current plan) are suspicious of this new plan that's being created in a very behind-the-scenes way and without the same level of public comment as the previous one. Will the guidelines declare that all buildings along the river must look like crumpled lunch bags? No one knows.
Opponents of the Gehry plan also worry that by announcing such a big change could in some way jeopardize federal funding for the $1.4-billion dollar restoration of a section of the river from Downtown up through parts of Northeast LA. (The Army Corps of Engineers hasn't decided how much it's going to kick in for the project, though it did give initial approval to the overhaul.)
Gehry designed the giant hotel/retail/residential Grand Avenue Project in Bunker Hill. He was also tapped to design a high-profile, project on the former Garden of Allah site on the Sunset Strip. A press conference announcing Gehry's plan is scheduled for sometime later this month.
· Architect Frank Gehry is helping L.A. to redevelop the Los Angeles River [LAT]
· Army Corps Now Reevaluating Billion-Dollar LA River Rehab [Curbed LA]
· Feds Now Recommending Best and Biggest LA River Restoration [Curbed LA]