2007-01-24, 09:36

Frank Gehry looks at mixed use in a big way

By: Jonathan Groner
I don't usually discuss proposed mixed-use projects in Utah in this space, but Frank Gehry's promise to design a major project in Lehi, Utah, 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, is worth a mention.
The 77-year-old world-famous architect, well known for the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, seems to have in mind a project that will dwarf many people's conventional ideas of mixed use.
According to a front-page article in the Daily Herald, a central Utah newspaper, Gehry discussed his ideas at a private luncheon in the area on Jan. 19, 2007.
"The idea of doing something special architecturally means it will look weird when you first see it," Gehry said at the meeting. "But we won't build something that people won't buy into. It's subtle how culture translates into architecture. And there is a culture in Utah."
The proposed project would sit on an 85-acre site on Interstate 15. It would include a 12,000-seat arena, a five-star hotel, high-end shopping, restaurants, offices, a wakeboarding lake, and a massive residential community. The project, including land rezoning, is now awaiting city approval. Further details will be announced on Jan. 31.
Calling the site a "blank canvas," Gehry told the newspaper that he is inspired by what he called a "Utah landscape quality, the big flat spaces that relate to the mountains."
The full article can be found at http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/207457/. I will follow this story in the coming months.
This is certainly a mixture of uses, but because of the project's size, I wonder if it has anything in common with the town center model that mixed-use advocates often want to foster. I wonder if it will add to a sense of community.

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