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Morphosis Dropped from Grand Avenue Project in Los Angeles

Related Companies has decided to drop Morphosis from their Grand Avenue development team. According to Bill Witte, Principal of The Related Companies of California, the Santa Monica design firm led by 2005 Pritzker Prize winner, Thom Mayne, has a “different design vocabulary than what the Related team is trying to do with the project.”

The Grand Avenue housing and retail development is estimated to cost $1.2 billion dollars and include approximately 3.2 million square feet in a key cultural and civic area of downtown. The Related Companies was awarded the “exclusive right to negotiate agreement” in August 2004.


The first phase of the project has been a public outreach program in which the team, city officials and stakeholders have met in a number of Los Angeles communities to discuss the development. It was after spending time reviewing initial concepts, as well as comments from public and team meetings that Related came to the conclusion that Morphosis wasn’t the appropriate fit for them.

“Not every architect is right for every project,” says Witte, adding, “but we are pleased for Thom, for winning the Prizker Prize.”

Witte says alternate options include Frank Gehry and landscape architect, Laurie Olin. However, according to the office of Olin Partners, Laurie Olin and Frank Gehry are currently acting as independent consultants on the project. Phone calls to Gehry’s office were not returned.

Allison Milionis