Four finalists selected to redesign Pershing Square in Los Angeles

Architecture Landscape Architecture Urbanism West
SWA with Morphosis (Courtesy of Pershing Square Renew)

SWA with Morphosis (Courtesy of Pershing Square Renew)

Pershing Square Renew just announced the four finalists of the Pershing Square design competition: SWA with Morphosis, James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners, Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects, and wHY with Civitas.

These teams will now develop fully fleshed out proposals for the five-acre park in Downtown Los Angeles. The finalist concept boards offer clues as to what to expect from the final proposals:

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SWA with Morphosis (Courtesy of Pershing Square Renew)

SWA and Morphosis identified four strategies for their reorganized park: ecology (native trees and a drought-friendly water feature), mobility (a road diet along Olive Street and better Metro connections), programing (a market and a day/night event venue), and sustainable business (reworked parked concession, food vendor, and retail spaces.)

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James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners (Courtesy Pershing Square Renew)

James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners held off at hinting at a design. Their concept boards show increased porosity between the park and the both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the cultural life of all of downtown and the Arts District. Expect the design to engage both in the park and along the adjacent streets and sidewalks.

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Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects (Courtesy Pershing Square Renew)

Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects’ boards depict a boldy understated proposal. They envision Pershing Square as a giant lawn with several atmospheric gardens: a foggy garden, a scent garden, a dry garden, a wind garden, and an edible garden. Services are discretely tucked under a large shade canopy.

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wHY with Civitas (Courtesy Pershing Square Renew)

wHY with Civitas landscape architecture group’s concept boards was also slim on design details. Although the proposal echoed some ideas seen in other team proposals, such as connections to the surrounding neighborhood, an emphasis on natural ecology, and food/market vendors, it uniquely suggested that the park offer education programming as well as something that could be digital connectivity entitled “Syncing Urban Hardware and Software.”

The four finalists will develop their proposals over the first quarter of 2016, leading to another round of jury interviews and a public presentation in March. It’s unclear how and when the design will be built, since at moment the only funding for the project seems to be the $2 million pledged to by the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners, who each chipped in one million.

The Pershing Square Renew jury is:
Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair) SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers
José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles
Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA
Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident
Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group
Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ
Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio
Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design

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