Frank Gehry is drawing up plans to revitalise the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River in the USA
The architect is working for LA River Revitalization Corporation, a not-for-profit organisation working to restore the waterway, which runs from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.
Gehry told the LA Times that he was interested in the job primarily in terms of hydrology, rather than as a site for new architectural landmarks.
‘I told them I’m not a landscape guy,’ he told the paper. ‘I said I would only do it on the condition that they approached it as a water-reclamation project, to deal with all the water issues first.’
He said that the river could be used to capture more storm water, saving money the city currently spends importing water, which could help finance new parkland along the banks of the waterway.
Gehry has already met with Robert Garcia, mayor of the City of Long Beach, to discuss a formal update of the authority’s plan to restore its section of the river.
Garcia said: ‘The Los Angeles River is one of our city’s most important economic and environmental assets, and it’s important that we continue to work closely with our northern neighbors to revitalize and enhance it for the benefit of Long Beach and of the entire region.’
‘We’re honoured and excited to have Frank Gehry, a true genius, bringing his creativity and expertise into this vital project, and the River Link plan should reflect this profoundly positive development, as well as all the other great work that’s been done over the last eight years.’
However, campaign group Friends of the LA River (FOLAR) has voiced worries that Gehry’s work could scupper a $1.3 billion plan approved by the Army Corps of Engineers last month to restore an 11-mile stretch of the river near Elysian Park.
Most of the river was lined in concrete by the army in a project that began before World War II.
Gehry, who established his practice in Los Angeles in 1962, has previously designed a number of buildings in the city, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in 2003.