Opinion asked designers, artists and architects how the land in Chavez Ravine should be used:

Shawn Hausman, a production designer, most recently worked as an art director on "The People vs. Larry Flynt." He is also an interior designer who is now refurbishing the Chateau Marmont

When you think of Los Angeles, two powerful images come to mind: Hollywood and automobiles. “Thirteen Screens and a Waterfall” would combine them in an exalted revision of the classic American drive-in, while giving the city a valued landmark.

Most major movie theaters in Los Angeles and throughout the country are now built as multiplexes. Lost is the movie palace, where premieres were held, and the drive-in theater. So why not build a 12-screen drive-in in the Elysian Park area, set up as two hexagons to underline the different films each would show? One hexagon would be devoted to new releases, the second to classic or cult films. The idea is to to attract a wide cross-section of L.A.

A state-of-the-art “auto” sound system could play through existing car stereos, or through stereo systems provided at each parking spot. The dialogue could be heard in at least four languages by means of a “channel” switch on each individual system.


“Thirteen Screens and a Waterfall” would feed off L.A.’s car culture, allowing viewers to parade their individuality through their distinctive automobiles. It would also draw because of the prospects for romance--both the nostalgic romance of the drive-in theater and because cars are often the only escape for teens to be alone. The revenue from the movies, or a portion thereof, could go toward a community park or film preservation.

The area surrounding the complex would be landscaped to accommodate patrons without cars. An amphitheater would be set in a wooded area, just beyond the parking lot. Concrete bleachers, equipped with headphone jacks for audio, would be encircled by wooded paths, so viewers wouldn’t feel they were sitting at the edge of a parking lot.

Sandwiched between the two hexagons would be a waterfall, a monument at least 20 stories high and lit so that it could be seen from miles away. At its base would be a large reflecting pool, encircled by park benches. With its powerful yet soothing sound, refreshing people with its mist, the waterfall would be a testament to romance and nature. It could also possibly help generate the power needed to run the complex.

There are, alas, potential problems--anything from drinking in cars to gang-related violence--that would need to be addressed to maintain a pleasant environment. No, this suggestion doesn’t answer all L.A.’s problems, nor is it a potentially lucrative or practical one--just an entertaining idea.