It’s not news that the LA River will be revitalized in the coming years, but how much do you actually know about the project and the architecture at the helm?
It was announced last summer that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry would be producing the plans to restore life to the once flowing river. Since the announcement though, talk has subsided regarding the restoration. This isn’t news either though. For the last decade there have been plans to turn the stream that flows through concrete paths in the city into a real river. The idea is that one-day you might want to spend an afternoon picnicking near the water or sunbathe on the grass by the stream.
Last year, city council voted unanimously to approve a plan to restore 11 miles of the LA River stretching from Griffith Park to Downtown. The plan, called Alternative 20, is the most ambitious of three plans considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the revitalization of the river. The plan is expected to cost about $1 billion, with most of that money going toward acquiring the land surrounding the river.
The price tag wasn’t even the most shocking part of this entire plan, that prize went to the announcement that Frank Gehry will be at the helm of the project. Gerhy’s controversial work had some people worried about what the river would end up looking like. Most of the 88-year-old architect’s most famous work, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, is shockingly contemporary and a similar look wouldn’t work along the river.
Not everyone is against the architect in charge; there are people who are favoring everything Gehry has to offer as well. He believes that there lies greater potential in his proposal than just a pretty river. Gehry’s primary concern is creating a way to treat the water, to store it for harnessing the storm water, rather than simply channeling it to the sea. This would help the city save the funds that it spends on importing water for use while helping the land in times of drought. Gehry would then use those saved funds on a new park along the river. To some, this sounds like a better use of the money than simply prettying up the place would be.
The plans are still in motion to move forward with the revitalization, but when that will be is still up in the air. All we know is that we look forward to having another place in the city to enjoy waterfront views!