Sunday, March 22, 2009

Discovering the delights of Downtown Los Angeles...

Last Sunday we decided to take a trip to Downtown L.A. to explore the area when it was quiet and not teeming with all the office workers that would be there in the week. 
Walt Disney Concert Hall Downtown LA
It was mainly an opportunity to take some pictures of the spectacularly designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, but also any other sights that Downtown had to offer.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
You never know how long we'll be here in California, so should anything happen, I don't want to have to say we missed seeing something because we never got around to it. So with that in mind we loaded our pup Cooper into the car and off we drove.
Walt Disney Concert Hall entrance
I'd glimpsed the Walt Disney Concert Hall when driving past it on South Grand Avenue when we'd accompanied my parents to see 9 to 5 The Musical at the Ahmanson Theatre, also found Downtown in the Music Center of Los Angeles County, and was intrigued by its amazing design and knew that I'd have to photograph it for posterity at some point in the future.
Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles
We also have this amazing oversized coffee table book which has the most stunning photographic images from around L.A., but especially of the Concert Hall, which just makes you want to see the building for yourself.
Walt Disney Concert Hall incredible design
Unfortunately it was slightly overcast on Sunday, which means you don't get the true dazzling effect of the sun on the reflective surface of the building, but it's mighty impressive nonetheless.
Walt Disney Concert Hall amazing Design
I'm absolutely in awe of this building and it's amazing to look at in person. This has to be one of the best designed buildings in L.A. (which obviously isn't hard), but I'm also sure it would give buildings around the World a run for their money too.
Spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall
Now for the shocker. When it was completed in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall had cost an estimated $274 million to build, of which $110 million was on the underground car park. I'm all for the Arts, but this seems an outrageous amount of money to spend on a building, no matter how beautifully designed. Think of all the other things you could do with all that money.
The stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall
I'm certain the cost raised eyebrows as much as the design seemed to polarise opinion when it was opened on the 23rd October 2003. 
Amazing Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall
But I love this futuristic looking Frank Gehry-designed building and am fascinated by its curved, clean lines. It really is quite captivating.
Dramatic architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Concert Hall seats 2,665 people and is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale and apparently has phenomenal acoustics. We certainly would like to experience a performance there before we leave L.A.
Downtown LA fountain
Apparently the look of the building was not the only concern of local residents, as people in neighbouring condominiums found that the sunlight reflected by the mirror-like panels on the exterior were creating an overwhelming glare and overheating their homes. 
President Abraham Lincoln statue
So the building's architects had to come up with a solution to deal with this problem and in the end dulled the offending panels by lightly sanding them to stop the intense glare effect.
City Hall Downtown Los Angeles
In addition to taking in the sights of the Concert Hall we took Cooper on a walk around some of the other streets of Downtown. He seemed to love it and couldn't understand why he couldn't smell any other dogs scents anywhere - I doubt that many people walk their dogs in the business neighbourhood.
City Hall entrance Downtown LA
We strolled past fountains and monuments to President Abraham Lincoln, then walked around City Hall.
City Hall stars and stripes
On our way back to the car we saw a production crew setting up for what seemed to be a photo or film shoot under one of the underpasses, so I wonder what that was all about, as Downtown L.A. has featured in many movies such as The Omega Man, Collateral and Blade Runner to name but a few.
American flags flying at Downtown LA City Hall
So that was our trip Downtown. I'm sure we missed more than we actually saw, but no doubt we'll be venturing down that neck of the woods again soon.

Until then I keep bringing you fantastic images from our adventures around L.A...

Buy the book of stunning Los Angeles photography I was talking about above in the U.S.A. in mini-edition: Los Angeles Mini
and hardcover deluxe edition: Los Angeles: Deluxe
Buy the book in the UK in mini-edition: Los Angeles 
and hardback deluxe edition: Los Angeles

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