The Destruction of Frank Gehry’s Santa Monica Place


Years ago, when this writer was living closer to the West Coast than to being in the middle of the country, surrounded by nothing but flatness and snow, he found himself wandering around the Frank Gehry-designed Santa Monica Place. Apparently, he was one of very few, as the mini-mall never did very well and was closed last week, proving that, just because you get a big name to build the thing, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a success. But as soon as it was all shut down was the announcement that there are plans to re-open in 2009, once many improvements have been made, including ripping the roof off the whole deal. Here’s a bit:

Mr. Gehry declined to be interviewed about the redevelopment plans, but Mr. Jerde said he was not likely to be upset about them. “This was a client-conceived building,” Mr. Jerde said. The mall was extensively remodeled once before, in 1990.

This is not the first time a Gehry building has encountered a wrecking ball. Last year, the University of California, Irvine, tore down a two-story building designed by Mr. Gehry, saying it was too small for the campus’s needs.