From its striking outside to its intimate inside, Walt Disney Concert Hall is an architectural marvel that never loses sight of its main function - bringing music to the city of Los Angeles and beyond. Get to know the building that architect Frank Gehry designed "from the inside out."
Take a high-def virtual tour in and around Walt Disney Concert Hall. Explore the lobby, auditorium, backstage and garden, then read on to learn more about the unique features that make up the world’s most iconic concert hall.
The first view of Walt Disney Concert Hall most people see is the curving stainless steel skin of the building’s exterior. Resembling silver sails, the curves echo the billows in the auditorium and play off the bowed cornice of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, forging a link between new and old.
In architect Frank Gehry’s original design, Walt Disney Concert Hall was intended to be clad in stone. After receiving much acclaim for his titanium building in Bilbao, however, he was urged to change the stone to metal. With this new material Gehry was able to tweak the shape of the exterior, creating the iconic silver sails we see today.
Gehry’s team visualized the lobby as a transparent, light-filled “living room for the city,” opening onto the sidewalk. In contrast to the tightly enclosed foyer of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the lobby would have a separate identity and serve as a symbolic bridge between everyday life and the inner sanctum. Walt Disney Concert Hall was intended to be a center of civic activity, not just a destination for concertgoers.
Inside the warm, Douglas fir-lined interior are 2,265 seats that are steeply raked and surround the stage. Ernest Fleischmann, former Executive Director of the LA Phil, felt that balconies and boxes reinforced a social hierarchy and proscenium arches separated players from listeners, and he urged that they be eliminated. In Walt Disney Concert Hall, the orchestra plays in the space in which the audience sits. The vineyard style seating brings the audience close to the orchestra, and offers an intimate view of the musicians and conductor from any seat.
The stage, made from Alaskan yellow cedar, provides resonance and can be configured to hold larger performing forces by removing the first rows in Orchestra View.
Past the barge with billowing sails is a public park that doubles as an oasis for concertgoers. At the center of the garden is a rose fountain dedicated to Lillian Disney, who provided the initial donation for the Concert Hall. The fountain is constructed from broken pieces of Delft China, Lillian’s favorite. Gehry named the fountain, “A Rose for Lilly.”