Six years after announcing plans for a Frank Gehry-designed expansion in Downtown Los Angeles, the Colburn School is ready to put shovels in the dirt.

View from Hill Street and 2nd Street intersectionCourtesy of Frank O. Gehry & Gehry Partners, LLP

On April 5, the Colburn is scheduled to break ground on the $335-million project, which will be known as the Colburn Center. The project site sits along the north side of 2nd Street between Olive and Hill Streets, just northeast of the Colburn's Grand Avenue campus.

“This is an exciting contribution to the cultural and civic life of Downtown Los Angeles. Colburn has shown a commitment to making education accessible to youth of all ages at their school,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass in a news release. “With projects like this and Colburn’s commitment, Grand Avenue will continue to grow into an energetic cultural district while also creating more opportunities to collaborate with renowned local and touring artists."

View from Hill Street West towards dance school entrance, dance studios, and public gardenCourtesy of Frank O. Gehry & Gehry Partners, LLP

The signature component of the project is a 1,000-seat concert hall, to be named for Terri and Jerry Kohl, which would be Downtown's first mid-sized concert hall. Additionally, the Colburn Center will double the size of the school's Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, adding four professional-sized instruction and rehearsal studios, as well as a smaller 100-seat theater.

Outside, Gehry's design for the Colburn Center includes a rooftop garden which can play host to receptions and outdoor performances, as well as a ground-level, publicly-accessible garden fronting Hill Street which will also have a dedicated performance space.

View East from Olive Street towards the entrance to the concert hallCourtesy of Frank O. Gehry & Gehry Partners, LLP

The Colburn's expansion serves as a complement the various components of the neighboring Grand Avenue project, which includes Grand Park, the Emerson apartment tower, The Broad contemporary art museum, and the new Conrad hotel and Grand by Gehry Residences across Olive. It also expands upon the existing "cultural corridor," along Grand Avenue, which also includes the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Music Center, and the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Colburn Center, which is on track for completion in early 2027, is being paid for through a $400-million "Building Our Future" fundraising campaign - with $335 million going toward construction costs and $65 million toward the endowment of operating costs for the facility and the Colburn School. Terri and Jerry Kohl, the namesake of the main concert hall, provided seed funding for the campaign.

Interior of 1,000-seat concert hall named for Terri and Jerry Kohl located on the West end of the project siteCourtesy of Frank O. Gehry & Gehry Partners, LLP

Expansion of the Colburn comes at a time when educational institutions have started to invest heavily in the Downtown area. USC has long had a presence in the neighborhood, with its name adorning a high-rise at 12th and Olive Streets, and UCLA has more recently moved to set up shop nearby with its purchase of the historic Trust Building on Spring Street.

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