Sunday, September 17, 2006

FRANK GEHRY'S WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL KILLS SIX, ARCHITECTURAL WONDER



This is probably old hat to the rest of you, but I remember once operating under the assumption that architecture was supposed to be benign. Apparently not since architect slash social terrorist Frank Gehry opened the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Nicolai Ouroussoff, a Times architecture critic, claimed in October, 2003, that the building was a "powerful and madly exuberant work" that "[reflected] the city around it." Well, that wasn't all it reflected. Until 2005, when the problem was rectified, the "significant glare caused by sunlight... was reflected and concentrated in a manner similar to a parabolic mirror." The reflected sunlight created "hot spots" of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on adjacent sidewalks and inside nearby condominiums. "[Employees and pedestrians] reported observing... plastic traffic cones [melting] and the spontaneous combustion of trash bins." Other than this minor flaw, the building functioned perfectly, a work of acoustical genius perhaps so designed as to drown out the agonized screams of burning passers-by. Also, if this building is supposed to reflect Los Angeles, it needs to produce more carcinogens as well as ejecting large amounts of toxic smoke into the sky. Otherwise, it quintessentially captures the gestalt of L.A.: hostile, inhuman, and mean-spirited.

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