Frank Gehry and the Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation (LA River Corp) could not be happier that Frank Gehry Partners, LLP has agreed to bring their world renowned vision, thoughtfulness, and foresight to the Los Angeles River. It truly marks a significant turning point in the life of one of Southern California’s most underutilized open spaces.

The LA River Corp was established by the City of Los Angeles through its LA River Revitalization Master Plan as an entrepreneurial, non-profit whose mission is to ensure that the 51-mile Los Angeles River integrates design and infrastructure that bring people and nature together. Before we approached Frank Gehry Partners, LLP, we were looking for a group that would bring a more integrated framework to the entire river. We knew we needed a team with the foresight, reach, and experience to be able to think about and assimilate an array of very complex challenges at both a city and regional level. We needed a team with experience working across multiple jurisdictions, and who understood the potential that these kinds of public resources hold to revitalize and strengthen communities. And we needed that team to be local to Los Angeles, because they had to truly understand and embrace what the river means for our community. Putting all of that together, it was clear that Frank Gehry Partners, LLP could be our only choice.

Frank Gehry and his team have spent 9 months doing due diligence, all pro bono: reading over numerous river-related plans, compiling their own data about flood control, hydrology, water flow, land use, public health and the myriad other complex issues relating to the river. The Gehry team is gathering this data so that they can explore the art of the possible for the river. An expansive, forward looking approach to improve communities, improve water conservation and reclamation that can even help with drought relief, and expand recreational opportunities along its entire reach.

Frank Gehry Partner, LLP’s efforts will expand upon the decades of important work that has come before, yet will be an integrated approach that knits together all 51 miles of the river. Far from complicating any other efforts, their work will complement those efforts, including the Army Corps “Alternative 20” plan, by contextualizing them in a larger framework, showing how the entire river can work as one ecosystem.

LA River Corp is tremendously supportive of Alternative 20, having made many trips to Washington, DC to lobby for its passage, working closely with Mayor Garcetti and others to ensure its approval. We know how important Alternative 20 is to the future of the river, and we know that Frank Gehry Partner, LLP’s work will only serve to make Alternative 20 even more attractive to policymakers.

We are launching the beginning of what will be an inclusive process to develop this 51 mile integrated design vision, with input from a wide variety of stakeholders. This project will have a tremendous amount of public input from the diverse talent and ideas of people across the region.

Finally, this discovery phase wouldn’t be possible without the leadership and support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, LA County leaders, and many other state and local elected officials and community leaders who have played a critical role of helping us get to this point.

Frank Gehry Partners, LLP’s involvement is truly helping to bring this region together to embrace and elevate this tremendous public resource.


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