The Music Center received approval today from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to move forward with a $40-million renovation of its central plaza.

The redesign, which is lead by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, updates the aesthetics and functionality of the 53-year-old space which fronts Grand Avenue.  Billed as a "true front door" to the Music Center and the fifth venue on the campus, the redesign calls for widening and flattening its Grand Avenue pedestrian entrance and adding escalators to the plaza level.  The existing sunken area of the Music Center Plaza will be raised to grade with Hope Street, and the Jacques Lipchitz-designed Peace on Earth sculpture will be relocated west to allow for more contiguous space.  The redesign will double the capacity of the plaza from 2,500 to 5,000 people, allowing for more free and low-cost programming.

Rios Clementi Hale's design pays homage to the original 1964 plaza, which was crafted by Cornell, Bridgers, and Troller, as part of the larger Music Center project by Welton Becket.  New amenities are planned across the plaza, including five new buildings featuring a full-service restaurant, a wine bar, a coffee house, a welcome center and permanent restrooms.  After completion, the plaza will begin to function more as an extension of the Grand Avenue Park, with landscaped spaces that overlook the adjacent Grand Park - which was also designed by Rios Clementi Hale.

The project is being jointly funded through a $30-million contribution from Los Angeles County and $10 million from the Music Center.  The Music Center has raised $6.8 in construction funding to date.