Tiptoeing unobtrusively through the fertile curves of The Valley, the LA River had once admitted waters from an underground aquifer in the San Fernando Valley and from the surrounding mountains. What barely qualifies as a river today, was once held synonymous to a poetic display of nature’s beauty. The river nurtured a bank, alive with breezes, trees, and rich soils. Yes, once upon a time Los Angeles ‘had’ what we would call a river. But today, due to an unfortunate turn of events, its remnants survive, embedded in concrete.
Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation (LA Corp), came into existence in 2009 as a nonprofit organization. The city has been longing for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River. For the project, Architect Frank Gehry’s services have been employed. The 86 year-old-architect has been publicized to have started working on the master plan, last year. An approved master plan has been existing for the river’s revitalization since 2007. Gehry has been reportedly employed to update that scheme.
Gehry’s acceptance of the commission has caused quite a stir. A set of critics have deemed LA Corp’s choice poor, pointing fingers at the architect’s credentials, but a look at Frank Gehry’s profile highlights him as one of the world’s best known architects – a magician who turned Bilbao into an iconic city.
The principal purpose of the project, previously, was to revive and reintegrate public use of the river with design strategies. Bridges, bike paths, walkways along with other improvements had been proposed to encase a more inviting look to the riverfront. Upon Gehry’s insistence, however, design interventions will now be considered secondary. The primary function, as proposed by the architect himself is to treat the water, to store it for harnessing the storm water, rather than simply channeling it to the sea. The architect, who is rather fascinated by the river’s ability, claims that there lies great potential in his proposal. It would help the city save the funds that it spends on importing water for use while helping the land in times of drought. Sensibly enough, Frank Gehry plans to spend the funds saved toward creating a riverfront park.
By: Aleeshba Saigol