Disney Concert Hall Garden and a bit of The Broad

The Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles holds a secret garden, The Blue Ribbon Garden, that you would never know was even there walking by the alien exterior of the building.

The Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles holds a secret garden, The Blue Ribbon Garden,  that you would never know was even there walking by the alien exterior of the building.

A steep staircase off a busy sidewalk takes you to a rooftop public park/garden oasis, about an acre in size, with plenty of shady areas to sit and relax and take in the impressive architecture. Frank Gehry designed the building – and garden.

There are areas for kids performances, as well as serves as a pre- and post-performance reception area. It’s also available for private events and children’s programming.

One of its most unique features – other than the space-age design and materials is a fountain Gehry designed for its patron, Lillian Disney.

Disney was a rose collector – and collector of Royal Delft porcelain. According to the John Lithgow-narrated audio tour, Mr. Gehry himself said that the Delft wasn’t that royal – in that she collected even cheap souvenir Delft as well.

Since she loved rose and her Delft porcelain, he created a large rose fountain made from Delft porcelain pieces and tiles.

Another feature of the building that was nature-inspired are the columns that support the building and mechanicals. Massive tree trunk-like wood-clad pillars give the lobby a sculptural forest-like vibe.

Free tours leave from the lobby daily. We had gotten there too late for the last tour but were able to take the audio tour (at no charge) and wander the building and garden at our leisure.

Not quite a labyrinth, but it’s sure
to keep kids busy for a while.
It’s hard to pay too close attention to the garden
when you can look up and see this.
The support columns hid air conditioning and other building mechanicals – and looked like abstract trees.
The garden was lush, but not much was in bloom. I sorta’ liked the greenery against the metal building. Too much color would have made it cartoonish and a bit more like a Disney Park.
The spaceship has landed and brought a garden with it.
We could have brought our lunch up here and sat a while.
The Delft ceramic rose fountain has a name – A Rose for Lilly.


Kinda’ reminds me of space mountain.



Okay, so these weren’t in Gehry’s Blue Ribbon Garden for Disney, but they were next door, on the sidewalk, in front of the brand spankin’ new The Broad, LA’s most recent new museum. They are sidewalk plantings planted into slits in the sidewalk. They were really cool.
And here is The Broad, a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. It is literally right across the street from the Disney Concert Hall. You can see those little bit of green sidewalk plantings along the sidewalk.

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Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (; he writes a long-standing garden blog (; led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

0 comments on “Disney Concert Hall Garden and a bit of The Broad

  1. I bet you could make a fountain like that. Isn't this the building they had to sand because it was burning up everything it reflected upon? I never knew it had a garden.


  2. They did have to dull the exterior of the building. The reflections made it god-awful hot anywhere around the building. There's actually one curved wall in the garden that is in shade that was left the original shiny surface.


  3. I agree: The greenery softens the harshness of the metal building. Too much color would be jarring. Those sidewalk plantings are interesting. I think I like them, but I'm not sure…


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