I’m thrilled that this expansion will help the Colburn School bring music and dance more deeply into the lives of thousands of students of all ages and will welcome all members of the public.Carol Colburn Grigor
An exciting new stage in the growth of the Colburn School and the entire Downtown Los Angeles cultural community has begun, with the announcement that Frank Gehry will design a major campus expansion adjacent to the School’s current site. This ambitious project, together with Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Music Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Broad, will make this area of Downtown one of the largest concentrations of performing- and visual-arts organizations in the world, a true cultural hub for all of Los Angeles.
Located along Second Street on a parcel of land acquired in 2016, Colburn’s campus expansion will include state-of-the-art performance venues—a 1,100-seat concert hall, a 700-seat studio theater, and a 100-seat cabaret-style space—that will give Colburn its first hall for full-size orchestra performances, a venue for its burgeoning dance program and for opera, and a range of options to meet the demand of partner institutions and community stakeholders. The expansion will also include much-needed classroom, rehearsal, and housing spaces for the growing Colburn community.
The Colburn School selected Gehry for his deep connection to the city of Los Angeles, particularly downtown, and his record of accomplishment of creating remarkable performance spaces and educational institutions. President and CEO Sel Kardan says, “In selecting Frank Gehry for this ambitious project, we have chosen an architect with an extraordinary track record of designing educational and performance spaces, an unshakeable sense of public purpose, deep roots in Los Angeles, and a commitment to the young people of this region and young artists around the world.”
Joining Gehry will be an all-star, all-LA team that includes Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, the acoustician for Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Michael Ferguson of TheatreDNA, who, as a member of Theatre Projects, consulted on Gehry’s New World Center in Miami.
In a statement, Carol Colburn Grigor emphasized that this is a historical moment for the school, saying “Music runs in our family, passed down to us from our father. I’m thrilled that this expansion will help the Colburn School bring music and dance more deeply into the lives of thousands of students of all ages and will welcome all members of the public. Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most breathtaking buildings ever created for music performance, so I know that Frank Gehry is the perfect architect to design our expansion.”
The Colburn School moved to its home at 200 South Grand Avenue in 1998, when Grand Avenue between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at First Street and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at Third Street was parking lots and undeveloped land. In 2007, Colburn expanded, opening the adjoining Olive Street building, with new rehearsal, performing, and living spaces.
Colburn’s investment in downtown paid off, and it now sits in the middle of a vibrant cultural corridor. Today, students play alongside members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, dance in The Music Center’s Nutcracker, ponder art with educators at MOCA, and visit The Broad between classes.
The expansion of the Colburn School will foment Gehry’s impact on the area, living aside his other high-profile projects: the celebrated Walt Disney Concert Hall and his mixed-use Grand Avenue Project that he is designing for the Related Companies. His team will now begin the concept design phase of Colburn’s expansion, the next cultural jewel for Los Angeles.
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