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July 25, 2008

In downtown Anaheim, the false promises accompanying Gehry's (nice) ice rink

Atlantic Yards Report

There's no doubt that Norman Oder is the ultimate Atlantic Yards tourist. This month he paid a visit to the Frank Gehry-designed practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks and filed a report.


It's not directly related to Atlantic Yards, but a look at Frank Gehry’s ice rink in Anaheim, CA, originally dubbed Disney Ice and now called Anaheim Ice, offers a cautionary tale about promises made for ambitious architecture.

Notably, the structure, when it opened in 1995, did not contain some of the Gehryesque elements announced, it did not prompt the redevelopment of nearby parcels, and, counter to the expectations of its builders, it did not spawn a national effort to teach inner-city youths ice hockey.
Notably, the Times review was written when the building was about to go into construction, not after it opened and was used. Thus Muschamp could gush about the building as a piece of sculpture, not a messy, living thing with blank walls backing into a major avenue, though years later, as the photo shows, there's a new development (at right in picture) bordering the rink.

Similarly, he could proclaim, improbably at the time and incredibly in retrospect--that the Atlantic Yards arena, as designed, would be an “urban garden.” (Now even the promised green roof is gone.)


NoLandGrab: Oder was more impressed by the interior design of Gehry's ice rink than the outside, another possible omen for the Atlantic Yards arena.

Posted by lumi at July 25, 2008 4:44 AM