The City of West Hollywood is preparing to get a lot greener. While still mired in lengthy delays related to its Plummer Park, further east, on Monday city officials unveiled the finalist schemes for the second phase of its new West Hollywood Park, located next to Johnson Favaro’s new public library and public spaces, just west of San Vicente Boulevard.
Three shortlisted teams — Frederick Fisher and Partners with CMG, LPA with Rios Clementi Hale, and Langdon Wilson —unveiled conceptual master plan renderings. The ideas are still considered “conceptual,” because they could be scaled down due to practical concerns, explained city officials.
“These are just ideas. When the project begins all this stuff goes away and we start with a blank piece of paper,” reiterated Frederick Fisher during his presentation. But Jeffrey Huffer, the city’s Strategic Initiatives Manager, noted, “In all I would expect to see the style and type of buildings would remain very similar to what they’ve presented.”
The $80 million project will remove several existing buildings from the site—including the Edward Fickett–designed Library, and the current auditorium, swimming pool, park office, and support buildings, to make room for an expanded core of grass and trees. The park will now contain over five acres of uninterrupted open space. New buildings will be highlighted by a new 70,000 square foot recreation and community center with a rooftop pool, park support facilities, and children’s playground areas.
All of the proposals focused on the new recreation center and rooftop pool, and tried to encourage interaction between the new building and its adjacent park. The finalists were culled from an original field of 24 design teams, which was later narrowed down to nine.
Courtesy Langdon Wilson
The Fisher team’s proposal includes a large grass-topped podium, and a stair, connecting the park to the rec center. “The building itself is an extension of the park,” said Fisher. Its fractured landscape, set with meandering pathways, would be divided into varied zones, including a reading garden, a sloped garden walk, garden “rooms,” and the “great lawn,” a large open grassy space.
LPA’s proposal also fused the recreation center with landscape, with vertical green screens, a park-like podium, and a larger grand stair leading down from the pool to the park. Its rooftop pool would be “resort style,” with cabanas and a view terrace, and inside a two-story volume would contain a large rock-climbing wall. Its “public park,” programmed for larger events and athletics, would be set along much harder angles, overlaid with a sinuous “neighborhood park,” set for passive activities.
“We feel the two parks in one gives West Hollywood the best of both worlds,” explained Rios Clementi Hale senior associate Samantha Harris.
Courtesy Frederick Fisher
Langdon Wilson presented a slightly more traditional proposal, dividing architecture and landscape, with a layered building clad with a glass curtain wall. “The facility needs to reflect the park, but it’s about the park at the end of the day,” explained Langdon Wilson project architect Rick Sholl. The team’s garden would create an “outdoor living room,” made up of greensward, recreation, and an “outdoor living room,” combining structured with open areas. A “Rainbow Garden Walk” and amphitheater would link the upper level of the park with San Vicente.
West Hollywood’s Huffer said that the winning scheme will be revealed at the city’s next council meeting, on January 21. Construction would likely be completed sometime in 2017, he noted. He added that he didn’t expect this problem to be beset with public outcry the way Plummer Park had.
“I think people seem very pleased with the first phase of improvements that were done,” he said,” referring to the new library, promenade, and basketball courts. “I think it’s only excited people more about what the project could look like.”
Olin’s plan for Plummer Park had come under fire from residents for, among other things, plans for new buildings, plans to demolish existing buildings and plans to remove mature trees. That project had been put in further jeopardy because of the dissolution of the state’s Redevelopment Agencies. The city has confirmed that Olin is no longer associated with that project. Unofficially the city is now having discussions with Brooks + Scarpa about the upcoming direction, said one city official.