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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  December 20, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. a conversation with frank gehry. the wonderful walt disney concert hall. it is considered an iconic building. we are glad you have joined us. ♪
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: a building can transform a neighborhood and the city. one such building, the walt disney concert hall in downtown l.a., now celebrating 10 years. it helped to change the way the world looks at l.a.
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the world's most prestigious architecture awards. frank gehry, always a special honor for you to come talk to us. are you doing ok? does it feel like 10 years? me.ime is a blur for i do not even know where i am sometimes. tavis: they had a little surprise for you at disney hall recently. and theyook my words had some lady designer, a good one, put them on screens. naughty.he words were you would not save them in polite company. it was about how i work. somebody said, how do you do this stuff?
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it, but ie-create said, i build a model and i look at it and i hated and i make another model and i like it for a little bit. .nd then i make another model i kind of liked it. and then i do not like it again and i have to work on another one. i build so many models, and to store them, it it costs me so much money, it puts me in the poor house. [laughter] a bit of truth to that. tavis: you spent it all storing .he models you do not like >> it is up to a million dollars a year storage. i am trying to dump it. do you have a garage? tavis: you have to give me one of these models. i want to display a model in my office.
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or has to be one in there that you do not need. there has to be one in there that you do not need. i hope i am not speaking out of when i last came to see you at your office, you showed me this gorgeous design that on, a homes working for you and your wife. i thought that was the coolest thing. you have a son designing a house for his father. >> it is a beautiful design and is a little over budget. [laughter] tavis: i wonder where he got that from, frank. >> we are never over budget. he is young. i did not rein him in.
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so we could learn the hard way. outrageous. i am not skilled in that way at all, what i recall -- but that hadthat metal that beautiful rich color on the roof of the house -- >> it is like corrugated metal, titanium, and it has a rose color to it. it will look like spanish tile, which they like in that neighborhood. spanish tile would be cheaper actually. tavis: one way to cut the budget. i want to go back to what you
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said. i was making a joke. you pushed back. this notion that frank gehry is so expensive and he is over budget. you are a diva in your own right . there is this impression that your stuff is out of reach. how do you get to business? more.be i should get i do not know. gave a talk to a bunch of business people and i asked them, how many people think my buildings cost a lot and that i am a diva? and each time they all put up their hands. has always been really important to me and it
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has never been a problem. the problem is you can always do something cheaper. people build warehouses for nothing. them ag them and making little more exciting does not cost that much. 15% more. i've been able to prove that over the years and we have developed a computer program to monitor the costs and the tower we finished last year in new stories, somebody would think cost more and we got it right on budget and eliminated change orders. product -- every project change orders about 15%. usually collects them. those are because of mistakes or
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misunderstandings from two- dimensional drawings to a three- dimensional object. if you can clarify it and eliminate those clashes, you save 15%. that is a lot of money. tavis: you should not make any mistakes after all of those models in your garage. >> they are my way of arriving. a are based on the program so they are not fluff. you could build those volumes and surface serious -- surface areas. ,avis: i suspect every project you want to be something that will be stunning, that people will talk about. every project is not going to be regarded the same way to the nine is -- guggenheim is.
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is there a certain approach that you take something like disney when you know that there really is a lot riding on this? >> historically public buildings like concert halls, government had angs, libraries, consistent level of iconic city that set them aside from the rest of the buildings. roman city plans had arenas and forums that set them aside and the rest of the housing cuddled up to them and that was mostly smaller dwellings that -- the history -- it has to do with the pride. if you go to a city and you see the courthouse and the church
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and the cathedral. there is a sort of unimportance for us -- there is a sort of an importance for us to have those kinds of buildings. million.ll cost $207 at the same time that was built, there were $300 million. it does not have to cost more to do that. if you look at the blocks of medal andtook the tweaked it at the corners to make it look like there was a sense of movement. feelingying to give without resorting to his store coal motifs -- historical motives. >> i assume you have to be
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pleased a decade later with the way it has been received by visitors. i assume you have to be happy with the way it has changed the whole feel about downtown. >> i am very proud of it. they are putting a subway under it. when you build a structure like that and they want to put a subway underneath it, how do you process that? >> you freak out. science forexact the transmission of low frequency sounds through the earth. you have to be careful. nobody can predict what can happen. you have to be a certain distance away to be safe.
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out.ll figure it i would assume that disney hall would be in your top five, maybe cap three -- maybe top three. >> a little building, 2000 square foot, a cancer clubhouse in scotland. it is sweet as can be. i did the work for free as a gift to the foundation. i was really proud of that. the people love it. the thing about disney hall, i go there regularly. the first two years were awful because i saw the mistakes. [laughter] after 10 years, you've
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gotten used to the mistakes. now we are faced with what happens across the road. we are working on building a hotel and apartments and the opportunity, i do not know if we , i have talkedf to the mayor, we would like to do something special on grand avenue from the just for that one block. that means lighting and paving and connect the two sides of the street so that in the evenings, it could be a party. bookstore and restaurants and they could talk to each other.
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my one fantasy is to put a bridge across from the third level of the commercial to the that wouldactivate some food and beverage so that becomes a part of knitting the city together. ,nteresting thing we found out the hotel will have a nightclub that is only used three nights a week from 11:00 until 3:00 in the morning. the philharmonic needs a small chamber hall. the connecting of these pieces across the road with the city helping us with the street, it could be amazing. i am so excited about the potential of it. can we deliver it? it never occurred to me
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until you just said this, i have talked to all kinds of artists and artistic geniuses over the course of my years posting this program and i've talked to actors who do not like to watch themselves on film, i have talked to musicians to do not like to hear what they have done , i did not know that architects into her the same thing. give me frank gehry's wafer how he processes up -- way for how he processes things like this. >> they are not really mistakes for the most part. how do you process that? >> you have to live with it.
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sit next to her in concerts and complain. she put my seat far away. tavis: she got tired of hearing you complain about your own work. >> mostly, the exit lights on the second level were left onto brightly and the doors were brightly lit. stuff like that. stupid things. , speaker a sound system, for when they need a speaker system because the house is very live. they copied -- they have the
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speakers with these bloody french fries. it looks stupid. town, it is in crazy when i see this stuff they sometimes do not pay attention to. how do you process and decide what you do and do not want to do? none of us live forever. >> i was told i was going to. tavis: maybe that answers my question. assuming that you do not live forever, you really bounced and that share a moment ago when you talked about the excitement about this new project. -- how do you decide
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what you do? i have aned out that office with some talented young people. -- we are talking about a legacy office. we put that in our language. gut,i got that into my that we could focus on that, it gives me a lot of freedom. i am just getting ready for the legacy office. i am just working for you guys, getting you ready. for my ownof a ploy head. what i accept is the work that excites me and if there is a modicum of respect for what i have done, i am not a pre-
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donna., -- a pre-ma you read the horror story on disney hall, which we almost did not get to do it if it had not been for diane. they do not think i can do a good production drawings. you are marginalized as creative, but not practical by developers. the big-time developers. they have so much stuff they do not care. tavis: when i last saw you at having ane, i recall
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in-depth conversation. i was fascinated to hear your about the lack of inclusion and diversity in your particular field. it is getting better, but is woefully slow. we have a black man in the white house. we still have trouble trying to get this field more integrated. yale.color at .here are a few architects
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hopefully, they are talented. support -- we are willing to take people in as interns. you are right, it is missing. also missing, schools graduate manyomen and there ain't at the top. there are women, but they do not it. until they are running staff. my chief of company and she is not running it -- now running
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it. this is a young lady who was 35 or 36 and she is going to go to the top. all of the doors are open to her. i tried to tell the others in the office to follow that model. the color thing, what do we do? tell me what to do. tavis: it has to be a priority for somebody. why i am doing this program in the elementary school. started withhing i the shriver families. philanthropy. i hired her to help me put together arts program in
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elementary schools. this, in for doing taught in the elementary schools to figure out where it goes wrong. they seem to be marginalized way back then, they were on the periphery. when i would get a kid, this young lady, i got her to paint on a box. she was very shy. everybody said, that is so beautiful. this kid turned around in 30 seconds. we are still missing.
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a lot of kids they cannot do reading, writing, and arithmetic . i have a son who had trouble with dyslexia. because he was involved with me in the artists, he was drawing and making things and that got him through school. there is a lot of that missing. we were talking to the aclu, we should file suit against the state. tavis: if it is missing and if the kids needed. >> not everybody is the same. of these kids have an art sense and the music sense. tavis: our time is up.
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you may be doing a project that has his name on it. , a sevencert halls hundred seat and 820 100 seat. -- 2100 seat. tavis: always glad to have you on the program. of the best toe ever do what he does. thank you for watching. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with actor stacy keach.
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♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs.
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