The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota, is one of LA’s landmark buildings, and it’s also one of the most finely tuned (tonight it features…
Frank Gehry, with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota, is one of LA’s landmark buildings, and it’s also one of the most finely tuned (tonight it features a performance of The Marriage of Figaro with sets designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, whose sketch is shown, left, and costumes by Azzedine Alaïa.)
Now the acoustic experience may be damaged, according to a recent study that found that deep down vibrations from passing trains in a nearby subway might affect recording quality.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, “Experts who know the hall’s acoustics are worried that the listening experience in the main auditorium could suffer when subway trains begin running 125 feet below the parking garage in 2020. . .
“Toyota, Disney Hall’s acoustical designer, said that that the foundations of subway-adjacent performance halls he worked on in Tokyo and Shanghai have special features that reduce ground vibrations, but not Disney Hall. Widely acclaimed for its superior sound since opening in 2003, Gehry’s space and Toyota’s acoustics provided a platform for the Los Angeles Philharmonic to attract superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel as its music director.
“We didn’t assume a big vibration, such as from a subway, was going to come,” Toyota said, and there’s nothing further that can be done to the building now.”
Deborah Borda, president of the philharmonic, told the LA Times “she isn’t alarmed by the recent Colburn School noise simulation but thinks it’s helpful that it has brought increased awareness.
“I think it’s a good thing that there’s a certain amount of uproar…. I have a comfort level with the [planning] process to this point, but the process is not completed,” she said. “We all agree more analysis is required. [Disney Hall] is a treasure that has to be protected and maintained, and it will be.”
Read Mike Boehm’s report here. And let us know what you think. Should Metro take drastic action to make sure there’s no bad vibrations at our worldclass symphony hall?