frank gehry is working with city officials in los angeles to design a comprehensive masterplan for the redevelopment of the city’s river. according to the LA times, the canadian-born architect has been working since last year on the beginnings of an overarching plan for the site’s bridges, bike paths and walkways to revive the public use of the 51 mile stretch.


while many of the project’s details remain undisclosed, mayor eric garcetti said gehry is working on the project pro bono and is producing ‘a masterplan, in the truest sense of the word.’ since the announcement, non-profit organization friends of the los angeles river has refused to endorse the project.


gehry stressed that he isn’t interested in using the site of the river for new landmarks, but rather intends to place an emphasis on hydrology.


‘they (revitalization corp) came to see me and said they were heading up a committee for mayor garcetti and said we have this wonderful river, 51 miles, and that if we could brand it, give it visual coherence, it could become something special.


‘I told them I’m not a landscape guy. 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.’


gehry believes that the river could be turned into an entirely different kind of machine, one that could store and even treat storm runoff. capturing more storm water could also allow the city and region to save some of the money they now spend importing water from around the west, helping finance new park space along or even spanning the river. ‘I think we’re wasting a lot of water at a time when we need it,’ he said. ‘I don’t see tearing out the concrete. it’s an architectural feature, and I can see ways of incorporating it into what we’re doing.’


read the full story on the los angeles times here | image © kent nishimura / los angeles times