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Frank Gehry's Colburn School Expansion Takes Shape in Downtown LA


In a significant development for Downtown Los Angeles, construction has kicked off on the expansion of the renowned Colburn School, a premier performing arts institution, under the visionary design of Frank Gehry. The eagerly anticipated project, known as the Colburn Center, encompasses a sprawling 100,000-square-foot complex with a price tag of $335 million. Set to occupy a former surface parking lot diagonally across from the school's existing main building, crafted by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and situated along Grand Avenue, the Colburn Center promises to redefine the cultural landscape of the bustling metropolis.

The expansion of the Colburn School aligns seamlessly with the burgeoning cultural corridor within Downtown LA's Bunker Hill district, further enhancing its allure as a hub of artistic expression and innovation. Adjacent to iconic landmarks such as Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Broad contemporary art museum, which recently announced a monumental expansion project spearheaded by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Colburn Center embodies a nexus of creativity and architectural ingenuity. Notably, Gehry's imprint on the area extends to The Grand LA, a dynamic mixed-use complex featuring a striking residential tower that debuted in 2022. This concentration of Gehry-designed marvels solidifies Bunker Hill's status as a global epicenter of architectural excellence.

Reflecting on the significance of the Colburn Center, Gehry expressed his vision for the project as "a much-needed endeavor for the community," emphasizing its potential to enrich the lives of students and cultural enthusiasts alike. With a centerpiece boasting a state-of-the-art 1,000-seat concert hall complemented by versatile rehearsal spaces and expansive outdoor areas, the Colburn Center embodies Gehry's commitment to fostering artistic excellence and community engagement.

Sel Kardan, president and CEO of the Colburn School, underscored the institution's dedication to advancing classical music and dance, tracing its origins back to its founding as a preparatory arm of the USC Thornton School of Music in 1950. Over the decades, the Colburn School has evolved into a beacon of artistic prowess, culminating in the unveiling of its ambitious expansion plans. The project, unveiled to enthusiastic acclaim at the 2023 L.A. edition of Record on the Road, is poised to redefine the cultural landscape of Los Angeles for generations to come.

Scheduled for completion in 2027, the Colburn Center stands as a testament to Gehry's enduring legacy and the transformative power of architecture in shaping vibrant communities.



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