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Gehry on song with LA orchestral manoeuvres

Frank Gehry's US$274 million (£180 million) Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles is entering the final stage of construction.

The structural steelwork is now in place on the dramatic 29,300m 2building which will provide a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The scheme, on a 1.5ha site in the historic Bunker Hill area of LA, creates a 2,265 seat main auditorium, designed in collaboration with Nagata Acoustics, and dominated by a huge organ in a case designed by Gehry. Seating surrounds the orchestra platform, and the curved ceiling and walls are made from Douglas Fir - the hardwood used in the construction of cellos and violas. A 11m high rear window and eight skylights will allow for natural daytime lighting.

The hall will also encompass two outdoor amphitheatres - a 300-seater children's theatre and a 120-seater second performing space - as well as a hall for pre-concert events.

A giant stairway and oval courtyard will form the primary entrance to the building, which will feature expanses of turquoise glass, offering passers-by views into the building. Other elements of the scheme include rehearsal studios, dressing rooms and a library, the exclusive Founder's Room special suites for performing artists, and office spaces.

The exterior walls, which appear to curve and fold, will be clad in stainless steel panels.An urban park surrounding the building will feature expansive public gardens, colourful ornamental landscaping, walkways and trees.

Gehry originally won the competition to design the concert hall back in 1988, but the project was delayed until funds could be raised. It is due to open in October 2003.

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