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SAJAH, ISSN 0258-3542, volume 23, number 3, 2008: 9–19.Empathy as perception in downtown Los Angeles and the Walt Disney Concert Hall as an act of architecture Daniel G. GeldenhuysDepartment of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology, University of South AfricaE-mail: [email protected] present article suggests that empathy is not the sole preserve of human beings, and that a city or buildings can also relate with empathy to people and the environment. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry in downtown Los Angeles, is taken as primary embodiment of such empathy. The article is divided into three sections, framed by a brief introduction and conclu-sion. The firstsectiondealswiththehistoricalcontextofLosAngeles,withspecialfocusonthedown-town area, and the way in which the multicultural population has given the city a heterogeneous cul-ture, reflectedinitsarchitecture.Inthemiddlesection,dealingwithhowthecityrelateswithempathyto its inhabitants, parallels ...