Dezeen Magazine

Frank Gehry Disney Hall, photo by Kansas Sebastian

Gehry warns new subway spells "disaster" for Walt Disney Concert Hall

News: architect Frank Gehry has warned that performances at his Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles could be ruined by the noise of a subway line planned nearby.

The new Metro line below the parking garage of the venue, which is one of the architect's best-known buildings, is expected to open in 2020.

"It would be a disaster for Disney Hall," Gehry told the Los Angeles Times, after it was revealed that the rumbling of trains would be audible from inside the hall.

In an acoustic experiment conducted in April, subwoofers simulating the sound of a passing train could be heard in the auditorium.

"The test was several minutes long," said Fred Vogler, a recording engineer who oversees concert-taping for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. "Then they said, 'Is anybody troubled by the train sounds?' We said, 'Well, we heard them, if that's what you're asking.' It set off a lot of concerns."

Tests of subway noise carried out nearly two years ago by Metro's noise abatement consultants had led them to predict there would be no audible impact on Disney Hall, but Gehry has now called for this decision to be reviewed.

"The flag is up, and we should go over it and make sure," he said.

However, Art Leahy, Metro's chief executive, reassured concerned parties that nothing that might damage the hall would be approved to be built.

"We are not about to do anything which in any fashion, however slightly, impairs or damages … Disney Hall or any other feature in that area," he said.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall was completed by Gehry in 2003 and designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world.

Earlier this year a US congressman launched an attempt to scrap Gehry's proposed Washington D.C. memorial for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, citing its cost and controversial design.

Gehry is currently also working on the new headquarters for internet giant Facebook – see all architecture by Gehry.