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TRIMMED WITH DISNEY BUILDING A MARVEL OF ARCHITECTURE IN BURBANK $95 MILLION PROJECT CLASSICALLY CONTEMPORARY.

Byline: Helen Gao Staff Writer

BURBANK - It's classical, yet contemporary - a combination of simple stylings and Disney whimsy.

The new 10-story landmark building at 2300 Riverside Drive is home to some 1,200 employees of Walt Disney Co.'s ABC subsidiary - an architectural wonderment that resembles a big-city skyline with what appears to be birthday cake candles sprouting out the top.

The $95 million project is the last building designed by Aldo Rossi, an award-winning architect who died as a result of a car crash in 1997. And while the green-and-cream structure bears the unmistakable mark of Rossi, an Italian architect known for melding classical and contemporary designs, the ABC building is unquestionably Disney in its colors and decor.

``It has a classical feeling in the sense that it is very simply organized. It's extremely direct and without ornaments or romantic flourishes,'' said Richard Weinstein, a professor of architecture and urban design at the University of California, Los Angeles.

``(Rossi) saw it in his work to find a kind of abstract way of treating buildings so that they look neither contemporary, nor old,'' he said.

Completed last August, the ABC building continues a tradition of architectural excellence at Burbank-based Walt Disney Co., ABC's parent company. Earlier this month, Disney received an award from the National Building Museum for its commitment to well-designed buildings.

The 397,000-square-foot building is home to ABC's President Steve Bornstein, as well as its entertainment division and Daytime TV operation, and Buena Vista Television, an independent developer of programming.

In contrast to the splashy Disney animation complex next door - which features a sorcerer's apprentice hat - the ABC building appears at first glance to be a series of structures composed of simple lines, columns, circles and squares.

Closer examination, however, reveals a single structure, color-blocked green and cream, topped with a white colonnade that some compare to a cake adorned with birthday candles. Another section of the building features a line of ship's porthole-like windows - classic emblems of art-deco style.

Inside, columns flank the ABC hallways and are a prominent element in the design of the employee cafeteria.

``Rossi felt that people ought to understand how a building stands up,'' said Chris Crary, director of planning and architecture for Walt Disney Imagineering. ``(The column design) is a celebration of architecture.

``Architecture hasn't changed that much. Everything still comes down to a beam sitting on columns,'' he said.

Connecting the building and the production studios across the street is a bridge designed by Los Angeles area artist Liz Larner - a sensuously shaped, open-air walkway, which transforms into a translucent blue ribbon when illuminated at night.

``When you look at most bridges across America, they are straight and supported in a very typical way,'' Crary said. ``We don't want the typical. We want a piece of art.''

While the building is clearly a Rossi statement, Disney elements are prominent in its corporate offices, screening rooms and cafeteria.

The color scheme - terra cotta and cream with green trimmings - is similar to the decor of neighboring Disney studios, as does the wrought-iron property fence topped by Mickey Mouse silhouettes.

Black-and-white photographs of Disney and ABC programs line the hallways, and the concierge greeting visitors in the lobby sports a Mickey Mouse necktie.

``Every Disney property has a story - what we call its theme,'' Crary said. ``We want our story to be consistent - whether it's inside or outside - down to the doorknobs.''

CAPTION(S):

3 photos, map

Photo:

(1 -- 2 -- color) An open-air bridge designed by Los Angeles area artist Liz Larner connects ABC's 10-story production studios, left, a single structure, color-blocked green and cream building, topped with a white colonnade that some compare to a cake adorned with birthday candles. The building was the last designed by Aldo Rossi, an award-winning architect who died in a 1997 car crash. The $95 million, 397,000-square-foot structure helped Disney earn an award from the National Building Museum for its commitment to well-designed buildings.

(3) This bridge, designed by artist Liz Larner, connects the new building and the production studios across the street. At night, the illuminated bridge looks like a translucent blue ribbon.

Copyright The Walt Disney Co.

Map: ABC corporate offices
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 22, 2001
Words:699
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