On Saturday LA residents and park rangers alike celebrated the opening of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City. Located on a hill 500 feet above the city, the new 50 acre state park has probably the most complete view of Los Angeles that exists, with close to 360 degree vistas that stretch from Downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean.
The park’s visitors center—which contains exhibitions on local ecology and history and offers event spaces and conference rooms— was designed by San Diego-based Safdie Rabines Architects. With a bare bones budget they created a curved, canopied, exposed concrete, steel, and (floor to ceiling) glass structure that hugs the site, affords incredible visibility, and seems to grow out of its undulating earthscape.
They also helped shape that earth, which forms an ampitheater adjacent to the building, imbedded with unique native plants (one of them, the Coastal Sage Scrub, is being saved from extinction). Next to that area curving mounds lead one to a hidden crescendo: the unmatched panorama from the eastern end of the park. The only down side: because the Parks Department is so poor they couldn’t afford solar panels or other sustainable building elements. Yes, this is still LA, isn’t it?