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Monday, Dec 11, 2023

Who’s Building L.A: The Music Center Plaza


As the city of Los Angeles evolves, certain features of the urban landscape figure strongly in the public memory and deserve a second lease on life. A cultural work and public space for over 50 years, The Music Center Plaza has left an indelible imprint on LA’s unique urban pattern. The mission with this project was not just to resurrect, but to transform the central circulation area into a “plaza for all,” an outdoor performance venue and pedestrian-centered nexus for meaningful artistic engagement.

Revitalizing a historic sector of downtown Los Angeles alongside other nearby restoration efforts has created a vibrant hub for visitors. The MCP’s noteworthy municipal and artistic neighbors include the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles City Hall and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. This cultural and civic corridor has long been ripe for redevelopment to utterly shift the narrative of DTLA, making it a safe space for foot traffic and rich community interactions. The renovated Plaza has become a public square where people can connect over food and art and attend free and low-cost activities and events.

The design pays homage to MCP’s origins while updating it to meet the needs of its vibrant, diverse 21st-century community. Major infrastructure improvements include enhanced access, such as ADA seating in the bar areas and ADA-accessible entry points.

The project includes five new buildings: the Lisa Specht Welcome Center, the Mullin Wine Bar, Go Get Em Tiger, Abernethy’s restaurant and a dedicated public restroom building. Expansive vistas overlook Grand Park and showcase native, drought-tolerant plants for a relaxing al fresco experience, day or night.

Four giant LED media screens, sensors and cameras adorn the space and allow for innovative, crowd-activated art as well as traditional live events and simulcasts. This dynamic platform welcomes Angelenos with its reconfigured “front door,” the Grand Avenue staircase, flanked by escalators and will reshape the way Angelenos and visitors experience downtown.

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