Three years after first unveiling the design of a new music education complex designed by Frank Gehry and Gehry Partners, LLC, in Inglewood, Calif., The Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) announced that it is now expected to welcome students in September. Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, housed in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a structure designed by Gehry, the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center will provide performance space and educational facilities for budding musicians from Inglewood and neighboring districts.
With an expected cost of $ 14.5 million, the Beckmen YOLA Center is one of the few adaptive reuse projects completed by the company, transforming an 18,000 square foot former bank building, designed in 1965 by Austin, Field & Fry, in a 25,000 square foot complex. Overall, the project is reminiscent of earlier, more minimalist work from Gehry’s career, such as the Danzinger Studio or the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library. The building’s glassy exterior recalls the square silhouette of the bank that preceded it, while the decision to retain the columns of the original structure facing the street adds a sense of sobriety and symmetry – rare qualities in the work of the architect indeed.
Although recently released footage of the Edgerton Foundation performance hall reveals a decidedly more humble interior than the concert hall, it is an equally joyful temple to music thanks to the abundant natural light it provides. receives from a raised part of the roof (which Gehry calls the “lighthouse”) and an equally powerful musical space. Using a movable acoustic wall, the hall can be divided into two smaller rehearsal rooms, each large enough for a full YOLA orchestra, and features an impressive 45-foot ceiling made possible by the excavation of the basement of the original structure.
“The high ceiling also reflects sound with an even distribution of delays to create excellent clarity to balance richness,” according to the press release from Gehry Partners. “Heavy materials were chosen for the interior construction to reflect sound energy over a wide range of frequencies, improving bass response and warmth. Sloped walls and sloped ceiling panels help prevent damaging floating echoes from occurring.
This main space can accommodate 190 seated spectators, with seats that can collapse into the ground to provide more performance space, and a balcony on the second floor that can accommodate an additional 70 people. Smaller rooms surround the performance hall, offering additional community services including individual practice studios, a tech-equipped classroom, a family lounge, and the YOLA Music Library.
When complete, the Beckman YOLA Center will be the newest cultural and architectural addition to the Inglewood Civic Center. The 29-acre Brutalist campus was designed by Charles Luckman Associates in 1973 and includes Inglewood Town Hall, the Public Library, the Fire Hall, and the Public Health Complex.