Search results for "san antonio"

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New Practices New York
NAMELESS Architecture's Byeollae Church in South Korea.
Courtesy Nameless Architecture

The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter honors six new firms for innovation with its New Practices New York exhibition at the Center for Architecture, opening October 1, 2014.

NAMELESS Architecture
[ Firm Website ]

With offices in New York City and Seoul, Korea, NAMELESS is a concept-based architectural practice committed to “the simplicity on the unpredictable world.” The firm has completed art pavilions and worked on the cultural infrastructure of New York.


Bittertang's Ice Palace in Winnipeg.
Bittertang
 

Bittertang
[ Firm Website ]

This small “design farm” is run by Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich. With offices in New York City and Guadalajara, Mexico, Bittertang makes it its mission to bring happiness and pleasure into the built environment and to add “a thick rich fodder to contemporary material culture.”


Fake Industries' Velodrome in Medellin.
Courtesy Fake Industries
 

Fake Industries Architectural Agonism
[ Firm Website ]

“F**k originality,” declares Fake Industries. Founded by Urtzi Grau and Christina Goberna Pesudo, the firm explores the potentials hidden in the public knowledge of the last 400 years of architectural excess. “Don’t ask us for new stuff, we copy.”


dlandstudio's Gowanus Canal Pilot Street-End Spong Park in Brooklyn.
Courtesy dlandstudio
 

dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture

[ Firm Website ]

Founded by Susannah Drake in 2005, this multi-disciplinary design firm collaborates with large teams that include architects, artists, landscape architects, planners, and engineers.


formula's Sushi-teria in New York.
BarkowPhoto
 

form-ula
[ Firm Website ]

Composed of three trained architects, this collaborative looks to the future by looking back at the past, and reaching beyond the traditional bounds of the profession in order to bring home fees.


PARA-Project's Haffenden House in Syracuse, NY.
Courtesy PARA-Project
 

PARA-Project
[ Firm Website ]

This New York City–based collaborative works on projects that vary in scales and media, from commercial, institutional, and residential work, to events and international competitions.

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A Future for the Past
With Twitter as an anchor tenant, 1355 Market was restored with an eye toward preserving the building's art-deco detailing where possible, and stripping back to the concrete structure where appropriate.
Bruce Damonte

Retrofit Office
Market Square
San Francisco, CA

At the heart of San Francisco’s Market Street renaissance is a pair of buildings between 9th and 10th streets, former furniture warehouses reborn as creative office space. “I thought, if you really want to do something and leave a mark, the old furniture mart was a great opportunity,” said architect Olle Lundberg. “[When it closed] it created this incredible dead zone on Market. Having nothing in there created an inherent problem. Who would move in there to have enough of an impact to make it work?”

The answer is Twitter, which recently moved its global headquarters to 1355 Market. The Twitter offices, designed by Lundberg Design and IA Interior Architects, breathed new life into a downtown Art Deco landmark. An outstanding example of adaptive reuse, the complex, known as Market Square, is the result of collaboration between real estate investor Shorenstein and multiple design firms.

 
Bruce Damonte
 

Market Square comprises two buildings, 1355 Market and 1 TENth (formerly 875 Stevenson), and The Commons, a park built over Stevenson Alley. The centerpiece of the project is 1355 Market, constructed in 1937. Massive floor plates and low ceilings characterize the 800,000-square-foot building’s interior, while its 11-story elevation is clad with terracotta and features a Mayan motif.

With support from historic building specialists Page & Turnbull, RMW Architecture & Interiors renovated 1355 Market’s exterior and public floors. The facade was left largely unchanged, with only the windows and ground-floor storefronts replaced. The interior was a different story. The lobby of 1355 Market Street had been renovated in the 1980s, its Art-Deco fixtures replaced and walls covered with glass mirrors. The designers removed the mirrors and used historic photographs to recreate period lighting fixtures. They also repainted the lobby’s decorative plaster ceiling.

Douglas fir beams, reclaimed from a 1941 addition to the building, clad one of 1355’s lobbies.
Bruce Damonte
 

The building’s other defining feature is a series of two-story concrete columns that had been obscured by the furniture showrooms’ walls. RMW cleared these out to create Stevenson Hall. The columns were “a driving force for the interior architecture,” said Terry Kwik, a principal at RMW. “All of the architecture was really designed to emphasize that portion of the building.”

The designers added a second lobby, accented with Douglas fir beams reclaimed from a 1941 addition to the building. Around the new elevators, RMW created a concrete core, which, with the addition of shear walls, satisfied California’s rigorous seismic retrofit requirements. The firm also installed all new MEP infrastructure and doubled the number of bathroom fixtures on each floor. These upgrades helped earn Market Square LEED Gold certification.

At 1 TENth, the design team found less worth saving. Built in the 1980s as a furniture showroom, the concrete building’s small windows made it unsuitable for office space. RMW re-skinned the building in glass. “Literally every bay was cut out,” said Kwik. “It’s a whole new building now. Before you would only look out 3-by-3 windows. Now you have floor to ceiling glass, it’s totally transparent.” The team made few infrastructure upgrades, and instead focused on the building’s connection to 1355 Market.

Anna Bergren Miller is a regular contributor to AN.


The restored structure will give BBP flexible work and event space while connecting Houstonians to their city’s past and its contemporary waterfront amenities.
Courtesy Lake/Flato
 

Retrofit for resiliency
Sunset Coffee Building
Houston, TX

Built in 1910, the Sunset Coffee Building is one of the only remaining industrial structures on Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston. Sited near Allen’s Landing, at the corner of Commerce and Fannin streets, the one-time coffee roasting warehouse has a colorful history that includes a brief stint in the late 1960s as artist David Adickes’ psychedelic rock venue Love Street Light Circus and Feel Good Machine. Because of this link with the past, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) and Houston First (HF) decided to do something almost unheard of in Space City—they decided to preserve and restore the old brick building by turning it into a recreation and cultural center.

“Keeping the historic elements of building and scale is a really great thing in a city like Houston,” said Joseph Benjamin, project manager with Lake|Flato, which designed the project with BNIM. “In San Antonio it’s a given, but in Houston that’s a challenge. There could have been lots of pressure to develop it into a larger, denser site.”

 
Courtesy Lake/Flato
 

The adaptive ruse project presented several challenges to the architects. BBP applied for historic preservation grants from the National Park Service, requiring the design team to restore and/or replicate the character of the building. The three-story, 12,000-square-foot warehouse’s poured-in-place reinforced concrete structure was in good shape, but the brick veneer wall had crumbled beyond repair. The architects conducted an exhaustive search to find a contemporary brick that matched the color and spotting of the original masonry. The wooden casement windows also had to be restored, where possible, and replaced with newly fabricated windows that matched the originals where necessary.

   
Courtesy Lake/Flato
 

Another challenge was that the site is 12 feet below street level, solidly within the bayou’s flood plane. The first floor could expect to contend with regular inundations. Consequently, the architects located a canoe, kayak, and bicycle rental station on this level, securing it with permeable gates and garage doors capable of allowing floodwaters to flow into and out of the interior without causing much damage. An elevated rainwater collection tank posted beside the building will serve as a symbol of BBP’s commitment to improving the bayou’s water quality.

The architects located BBP’s offices on the second level. The office floor is linked to the street with a bridge that connects to an elevated veranda, which wraps around to the bayou side of the building. On the third floor is an exhibition space and on the roof a terrace, both of which can be rented out for events. The design team left the interiors open and the structure exposed, creating a flexible, loft-like environment.

While this restored bit of history will offer Houstonians with a connection to the city’s ever more obscured past, perhaps the project’s greatest function for downtown will be the improved access it creates to the revitalized Allen’s Landing and the Buffalo Bayou Greenway.

Aaron Seward is AN’s managing and Southwest editor.


The architects replaced the building’s marble panels with fritted spandrel glass, preserving the tower’s look while improving its performance.
Courtesy Lenscape
 

Retrofit Curtain Wall
First Canadian Place
Toronto, Ontario

At 978 feet, Toronto’s First Canadian Place is the tallest occupied building in Canada. While that claim to fame has endured since its construction in 1975, the tower’s white Carrara marble cladding has not fared so well. The exterior of the building had not undergone any significant changes beyond general maintenance, said Dan Shannon of Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects (MdeAS).

“Over time, the marble had deteriorated to the point that one piece of stone had fallen from the building,” said Shannon. “The anchoring, the stone itself, was in a place where it could no longer be maintained, and a change had to be made.” But with tenants like BMO Harris, Manulife Financial, and other major Canadian corporations, primary building owner Brookfield was left with little time to renovate. MdeAS and B+H Architects, who worked as the architect of record, had to replace 45,000 pieces of marble in one year—a job Shannon said would easily take two years under typical circumstances.

 
Courtesy Lenscape
 

To accomplish the job the team commissioned a custom suspended rig with three tiers for simultaneous work. The rig was climate controlled, but not airtight. “This was an occupied building,” said Shannon. “You can imagine trying to change that at 800 feet up during the Canadian winter.”

The design goal, he said, was to come up with a new curtain wall assembly that would bolster the building’s integrity while maintaining the stately appearance of the original design by Edward Durell Stone’s office and Bregman + Hamann Architects.

MdeAS had worked on Stone buildings before, notably New York’s General Motors Building. As with that project, the architects were drawn to Stone’s affinity for recurring geometric patterns. On First Canadian Place, they added a ceramic frit to the custom seven-by-ten-foot Viracon glass panels, evoking the texture of the original marble with a series of triangles.

 
Courtesy Lenscape
 

Each of the new opaque spandrel glass panels replace eight marble tiles, extending beyond the corners of the building on all sides. “Rather than just having the white glass fold back into these corners that were important to the original design, we used the contrasting glass color to make spandrel glass, accentuating the corners,” said Shannon.

The subtle sheen and restored brightness of the curtain wall contrast strikingly with those shadowy corners. New solar-reflecting window treatments and repaired air leaks update the insulated glass units that remain from the original assembly. In all, the unitized spandrel panel glass system nests three panes of ¼-inch low-iron glass in an extruded aluminum frame, with three types of PVB interlayers between.

In place of the 45,000 marble panels now sit 5,370 glass panels, reducing the amount of cladding sealant needed by 39.8 miles. The removed marble is being crushed into roof ballast and sand for other projects, and a portion is going to local art programs.

Chris Bentley is AN’s Midwest editor.


The addition engages the sidewalk and houses two retail spaces in a reflective volume.
Scott Frances
 

Retrofit Plaza/entrance
1200 New Hampshire Ave
Washington, D.C.

In the resurgent real estate market of Washington D.C., the owners of older buildings are competing for tenants with newer, more dynamic office spaces. And while D.C.’s reputation as a city remains buttoned-up, the city has an increasingly vibrant street life and a young and choosy workforce. This forms the backdrop for Janson Goldstein’s glittering addition to a mundane 1980s brick office building in the Capital, which adds retail space to the streetscape and creates a reflective, eye-catching surface that captures images of trees, passing cars, and pedestrians.

 
Scott Frances
 

The new angled glass pavilion aligns with the sidewalk to better engage street life and contains two retail spaces set within a subtly prismatic, reflective volume. The mirrored quality is achieved through a silvery metallic frit pattern, which allows a carefully calibrated ratio of transparency to reflectivity. Two bands of massive sheets of glass—the upper of which angles out, the inner bending in—create a dynamic surface. Janson Goldstein worked with German glass manufacturer BGT Bischoff Glastechnik, which was capable of fabricating the pieces, the largest of which is thirteen and a half feet long. No mullions separate the glass, which is hung from above. “It creates one continuous image for the property,” said Hal Goldstein, a principal at Janson Goldstein.

Scott Frances
 

Janson Goldstein also renovated the building’s lobby and entrance, creating a new signature bronze wall that extends from the interior out to the building facade. Allied Development fabricated the panels, which provide a rich, textural contrast to the sleek glass volume outside and the bright white lobby inside. “The developer came to us, looking to rebrand the building, bring in retail, and create a new iconic entrance,” said Goldstein. “Our project was simple enough to appeal to the developer. We were taking advantage of leftover space that hadn’t been designed at all. It’s another step toward making this a 24-hour neighborhood.”

Alan G. Brake is AN’s executive editor.

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Construction of Chicago Riverwalk Underway; City Looks at Funding Options
Chicago’s Riverwalk extension is underway, and the city is looking for contractors to help plan and operate concessions along what promises to be a major downtown attraction. Applicants have until April 7 to reply to the city’s request for qualifications. Chicago Riverwalk 1 The project got a major infusion of federal cash last year, but now Chicago is looking for private entities to help arrange for concessions—think bike rentals, kiosks, cafes, retail—along the riverside promenade, which will expand the Riverwalk six blocks. Federal transportation loans to be paid back over 35 years won’t be enough to fully finance the project, so the city is still considering sponsorship and advertising. Last year the city’s then-transportation chief Gabe Klein promised "Any additional advertising would be very tasteful and very limited.” Conceptual plans establish identities for each of the Riverwalk extension’s six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street: The Marina (from State to Dearborn); The Cove (Dearborn to Clark); The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle); The Swimming Hole (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin); and The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake). Chicago’s plan to reengage its “second shoreline” follows similar efforts that have had success in Indianapolis, San Antonio and London, among others.
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Reading Community
Courtesy MOKA Studio

Austin’s new central library will, contrary to what some might think, contain actual books. Lots of books. But it will also be a community center, a place that unites technology and people, paper and screen, and, ultimately, city and nature. With thousands of people now living in downtown Austin (and more to come), architects, planners, and city leaders took the opportunity to not only re-examine the traditional function of a library in an age of e-books and internet connectivity, but also to consider the role of this building in its context and its community.

Austinites are known for their highly participatory and democratic inclinations, and they made their vision of the new library known. “People wanted to make sure the library didn’t just have books, but also different kinds of nice places to read books and interact with technology,” said Jonathan Smith, project architect at Lake|Flato Architects in San Antonio, which is partnering with Boston’s Shepley Bulfinch in an integrated joint venture for the project. Lake|Flato completed the schematic design and design development, and is currently overseeing contract administration; Shepley Bullfinch executed the programming and construction documents.

 
The interior of the library is dominated by a six-story atrium.
 

The site for the new and long-overdue central library is indeed a nice place in and of itself. Located on the north shore of the city’s lakefront, the library will act as the terminus for a lively, pedestrian-oriented urban corridor on its northern urban edge, and connect to riparian landscape and long vistas across Lady Bird Lake to the south. Its street presence will animate and complete the until-now quiet, western end of the Second Street District, and make an important physical connection to the city’s hike and bike trail. Music venue ACL Live and the W Hotel, as well as hip shops and restaurants, are a stretch to the east, while at lake level, pedestrian and bike access connects to the city’s ten-mile-long network of trails.

A 38-story residential tower is being developed by Trammel Crow across Shoal Creek to the east, where the building engages the hike and bike trail. “On this edge, the design accommodates a pedestrian connection between the library and the riparian character of the creek,” said Steve Raike, project manager with Lake|Flato. “These goals are firmly embedded in Austin’s Great Streets design standards.” Here, bench seating, shade trees, and bike parking provide an intimate, welcoming entry to the library, removed from the activity of the street level above. To the west, the city’s decommissioned, iconic 1950s Seaholm Power Plant is being re-envisioned as a mixed-use complex, finally completing this western sector of downtown.

The library's street presence will complete the western end of the Second Street District.
 

Inside the building, the space is dominated by what Raike calls the “big move” of the project: a six-story, light-filled atrium that provides vertical circulation and a variety of scales of spaces for people to gather or to be alone, to research or to brainstorm. A multi-purpose space will accommodate up to 350. At street level, a leasable restaurant space provides a social spot—think bookstore café—and a retail space will house the library’s own high-end, museum-style shop, both revenue generators for the city-owned operation. This integration of public and private enterprise takes its cues from nearby Antoine Predock-designed city hall, another municipal building that contains retail and restaurant space along its Second Street frontage.

With Austin’s high tech community and spirit of innovation, it makes sense that the library will assimilate technology with people. Smith calls it a “new hub for the citizens of Austin.” Not due to open until March 2016, the library has already received inquiries for space rental from South by Southwest Interactive, itself a hub of technology and digital innovation. Proof, hopefully, that reports of the death of libraries have been greatly exaggerated.

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Almost Anything Goes in Santa Barbara
Courtesy MCASB

Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity
Museum of Contemporary Arts Santa Barbara
653 Paso Nuevo, Santa Barbara, California
Through April 13

It is impossible to underestimate the role that museum and gallery exhibitions have played in the history of modern architecture. Figures like Giuseppi Terragni, Lilly Reich, Bernard Rudofsky and, today, Neil Denari and Diller + Scofidio have all designed for and in the space of the gallery. They often designed exhibitions before they could get a building commission, or during slow economic times, but for all of these figures the gallery was a site where they could theorize or construct models that were still spinning in their heads but not yet possible to realize. Some of the most exciting ideas in 20th century Avant-garde architecture were first thought out in galleries, such as Frederick Kiesler’s Endless City, and his “L and T” method of installation design. In recent times, Diller + Scofidio’s Tourisms: suitCase Studies (1991) can surely be said to have lead to their design for The Brasserie, Boston’s ICA, and the just unveiled Gray Box gallery/theater at MoMA. Though the historic links from gallery to building are clear, critics often assert that architects in galleries do not produce architecture but art or, worse, architecture posing as art. This argument is often, but not always, a canard for architects who long for physical spaces where they can experiment, communicate with the public, and succeed or fail. The gallery space provides an opportunity for architects to experiment in real time, and space has never been more important than today when digital design can imagine the most hyperbolic forms, use of new materials, and geometries that may or may not be buildable. Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio, a practice that has flourished in the design of installations, makes exactly this point about their work for galleries. Their goal, Ball admits, is to be in dialogue with the 75 years of artistic practice, but even more they want to do research about craft and the process of production.

   
Design, Bitches, Masters of Architecture, 2012.
Courtesy Design, Bitches
 

These issues of design intent, production, and even reception are all played out in the exhibition Almost Anything Goes: Architecture and Inclusivity at the Museum of Contemporary Arts Santa Barbara. Conceived and co-curated by Brigitte Kouo, a designer with an interest in architecture, and the museum’s director and chief curator Miki Garcia, it smartly selects a group of young Southern California designers all working in different areas of architectural research and production. Ball-Nogues Studio was a natural inclusion in this survey. They are joined by Amorphis, Atelier Manferdini, Design Bitches, dO|Su Studio Architecture, Digital Physical, and Variate Labs.

The entrance to the exhibit foregrounds an eight-foot-tall sculptural object, exo, 2013, created by DO/SU Studio Architecture and its principle Doris Sung. It is a creative study for a multiple layered building facade if it were made of thermo-bimetals, in this case aluminum, a “smart… material that inherently responds to temperature, curling when heated and flattening when cooled.” It aims to challenge our perception of a facade as only a protective coating when it could be, as Sung said, “a responsive and active skin.”

Gallery view revealing several installation pieces.
Courtesy MCASB
 

Scattered around the gallery are luscious candy colored tabletops created by Atelier Manferdini that foreground architecture’s “communicative value” and look good enough to eat. The architects in this exhibit are young so one wants to encourage all sorts of experimentation strategies, but also to warn them to be aware of the possible clichés of art world production. All of the works in the exhibition do focus on architecture. The sculptural wall pieces by Amorphis could benefit from an updated reading on the critiques of minimalism, but still they suggest a relationship between the viewer and the work of art mediated by personal conditions—a major concern of architects. Another installation that straddles the strategies of art but still makes a convincing case for what architects can bring to the debate are the photographs by Design Bitches that use personal images of the architects standing in for the male heroes of yore. They are quite convincing and hilarious. Design Bitches also has a beautifully crafted series of concrete bags arched across the gallery ceiling like clouds dripping rain that playing with notions of “heaviness and somber lightness.”

The old installation pros Ball-Nogues produced the most convincing object and creative design strategy with their Mickey Mouse ear–like paper lamp. It was created by shooting paper pulp though a pressured sprayer into molds of flexible inflatable fabric. These paper lamps are one-off prototypes in the gallery, but suggest a way of creating objects of mass production. Ball-Nogues Studio is now working on its first building in San Antonio, Texas.

Santa Barbara is a seductive landscape of historic mission architecture. One does not expect to find adventurous design here. So the curators are to be congratulated for making this exhibit happen in their enticing shopping mall gallery. It displays again the amazing depth and creativity of young architects in the Southern California region.

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Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, 1922-2013
Fountain Branch Library.
Courtesy Catherine Ingraham

Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, architect, FAIA, died of congestive heart failure in San Antonio, Texas, on September 15, 2013. She was 91 years old.

Daughter of John Lloyd Wright and Hazel Lundin, and granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, Elizabeth studied architecture with Mies van der Rohe at the Armour Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology). She also attended University of California, Berkeley. In addition to working for sixty-five years as an architect, Elizabeth was an educator, scholar, and public figure. Elizabeth’s practice received numerous design awards from the American Institute of Architects. Her extensive work on behalf of women, energy conservation, and environmental awareness was honored with multiple awards throughout her life. She believed that architecture was capable of profoundly influencing culture. On National Public Radio in 1994, she remarked, “Architecture is the language of intervention…it intervenes in biologic, social, and political systems, and as such, architects become builders of ideas.”

 
Elizabeth Wright Ingraham.
 

Elizabeth was born in 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois. She became a licensed architect in 1947. In 1948, she moved from Chicago with her husband, Gordon Ingraham, who studied with Wright at Taliesin, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they opened a practice together. As Ingraham & Ingraham, Architects, they designed and built over 80 projects. In 1974, Elizabeth and Gordon divorced. Subsequently, Elizabeth opened her own practice, Elizabeth Wright Ingraham and Associates.

Dissatisfied with the narrowness of architectural work, Elizabeth founded an educational institute in 1970 for the comprehensive study of environmental and land use issues on the Front Range of Colorado. The Wright-Ingraham Institute thrived for twenty years under Elizabeth’s direction, attracting students and visiting faculty from schools across the nation. The Institute continues today as a non-profit dedicated to education and environmental research.

Elizabeth eventually returned to architectural practice, designing numerous residential and urban projects and became nationally and internationally known as a visionary educator and designer. Some of her most accomplished and experimental architectural projects were designed and built when she was in her 70s. She felt that this work, later in her life, reflected a departure from her grandfather’s principles and a coming to fruition of her own architectural ideas.

Elizabeth was an advocate for architecture and civic advancement throughout her life. She improved public access to her grandfather’s legacy and brought early attention to social and environmental issues in architecture through her writings, public lectures, and conferences.

Elizabeth started an international exchange program, Crossroads, in affiliation with Colorado College, was a co-founder of the Women’s Forum in Colorado, and served on multiple advisory boards and task forces. She sustained an avid interest in life, creative work, and the power of ideas to the very end of her life.

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Prize of the Lagoon
Courtesy The Contemporary Austin

In January, The Contemporary Austin (formerly AMOA-Arthouse) announced three finalists in an invited competition to design a master site plan for Laguna Gloria, the museum’s 12-acre estate on the shores of Lake Austin. The three firms are Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture of San Francisco; Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture of Boston; and Norwegian firm Snøhetta, which has an office in New York City.

These three firms are not only leading innovators in urban and landscape design, but also have rich experience working with artists and arts communities. They all have impressive records of significant design and planning work,” said Frederick Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, in a statement.

In May 2013, Steiner led a committee that sent RFQs to 33 firms. Nineteen of the firms responded. The committee winnowed the list down to four semi-finalists—including Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, which has offices in Seattle and Washington, D.C.—providing each with $10,000 to prepare a presentation. On October 22, the committee entertained presentations by the four firms and further narrowed the list to the above three. It also determined to visit each firm’s studio and some of their completed projects. The committee will reconvene in mid-February to pick a winner, which will be announced in early spring 2014.

The museum declined to release details on the finalist firms’ proposals, citing their sketchy condition at this stage of the process. It did, however, reveal the main stipulations of the RFQ, which requested a comprehensive master plan that fully incorporates the 12 acres of Laguna Gloria, lays the groundwork for a sculpture park, and respects the site’s ecology and existing buildings.

Laguna Gloria was the home of Texas businesswoman, philanthropist, and preservationist Clara Driscoll and her husband Henry Sevier. It is the site of the 1916 Italianate-style Driscoll Villa, which was designed by San Antonio architect Harvey L. Page and is on the National Register of Historic Places. A 5,300-square-foot art school, built after the estate became an art museum in the 1960s, is also part of the grounds.     In May 2013, The Contemporary Austin hired local environmental planning and cartography company Siglo Group to conduct an environmental assessment of Laguna Gloria. Siglo produced a report analyzing the property’s natural and cultural history, delineating its qualities and features, and suggesting conservation and management guidelines.

Siglo Group made recommendations for how to increase the ecological resiliency of the site, locating places where there are erosion problems, picking out invasive species, and indicating what native plants might be increased. It also made suggestions on how best to improve the visitor experience by capitalizing on the existing view sheds and vegetative buffers.

One part of our evaluation was determining what was on the site and pinpointing some of the hidden jewels,” said Jonathan Ogren of Siglo Group. “Laguna Gloria is representative of the vegetation types of what you’d find in Central Texas. Near the water you have riparian forest with some beautiful cathedral like cypress trees. There’s a sloping oak savanna up top. Then there’s a large swath through middle that was converted to Bermuda grass in the 1980s. Those different ecosystems create different rooms, like rooms in a museum, that will work for different types of art.” 

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Briscoe Western Art Museum
Though the expansion of the Briscoe opened some years ago, the museum only just now completed renovations of its main gallery spaces, finally unifying the project.
Lara Swimmer

Lake|Flato has just finished its latest project, a renovation and restoration of the Dolph and Janey Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio. The opening comes several years after the firm completed an expansion of the Briscoe in the form the Jack Guenther Pavilion, which demonstrates Lake|Flato’s sensitive and wonderfully rendered approach. A strange order to say the least—the new building opening before the existing building is finished—but considering the varied and convoluted history of the 1930s-era public library that eventually became the Hertzberg Circus Museum before the Briscoe turned it into its primary exhibition space, not to mention that of the Riverwalk, the story plays directly to the very nature of its surroundings.

Sited on the southeast bend of the Riverwalk across from La Villita and adjacent to the historic Presa Street Bridge and to the city’s oldest pump station, which has been in use since 1891, the Briscoe’s two-building campus is flanked by a landscaped function space. Walled and beautifully paved, the grounds serve to unify the project with contemplative paths and a large multi-purpose area designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects. Somewhat disconnected from the Riverwalk, the museum complex sits back, bordered by an access road looping around the campus. Required for access by the San Antonio Water System, which manages the pump station, the ring road serves as an unlikely drop-off. If that had not been the case, one could easily imagine Lake|Flato and Ten Eyck deftly and thoughtfully connecting the site to the Riverwalk, stitching the museum’s access to the bustling activity below.

Courtesy Lake|Flato
 

Facing the river like fraternal twins, born years apart, the two buildings are separated by a breezeway that provides access from the river to the museum. Intently different, yet remarkably well paired, they are contrasted by their material expression. The elder is dressed to the nines with gray Indiana limestone, taut and expressively carved with skillful hands and attention to detail; the younger is rough hewn in buttery Leuders limestone and patinated copper with great expanses of glass that diffuse its mass. The only connection between the pair is a two-story copper-clad bridge, its upper level enclosed to handle the transportation of artworks between the buildings, the lower open. Matching stone coursing, window insets, and overall massing tie the two structures together in an unconscious and nearly imperceptible way. Where the old building speaks with bulk, carvings of images, and words, the new building does so with material and form.

 
Lara Swimmer 
 

Stepping into the Briscoe’s main lobby off of Market Street, the only direct access, one is taken by the craftsmanship. The two-story volume is meticulously brought back to life from the storied days of its first use. Its cork floors have been replaced with chocolate honed travertine, but all else is there: the buffalo hide treaded staircase, outfitted with a new, elegant glass guardrail to meet the current code; marble baseboards; multi-colored gilt ceiling; and carved wood paneling. The T. Kevin Sayama and Andrew Andoniadis–designed museum store, with its elegantly detailed casework, is within eyesight. An exhibition space converted from a three-story book archive is now two stories and is used smartly for both sculpture and two-dimensional pieces. Completing the lower floors is a digital learning lab and expansive reading room used to exhibit art within bookshelves repurposed as hybridized vitrines. The upper floor accounts for the remainder of the exhibition space. Eighteen-foot-high ceilings and original wood and terrazzo floors—wonderfully restored—line the four large, sturdy, well-conceived spaces of the original building.

Courtesy Lake|Flato
 

Navigating the Briscoe’s interior is simple and direct. The circulation spine that bisects the museum building leads from the staircase and elevator directly to the bridge linking the Jack Guenther Pavilion, which houses the museum’s multi-purpose spaces. Over three levels, Lake|Flato kept the pavilion simple, with the same footprint, access, and material language. The firm has, nonetheless, created vastly different experiences. The uppermost level is structurally intricate and voluminous with exposed steel trusses, which, according to project architect Matt Wallace, “refer to the iron work of the Presa Street bridge, its patterning and detail.” Deep and asymmetric awnings keep the harsh Texas sun from entering the building throughout the year and a small, yet perfectly placed lookout projection serves as a visual reminder that the building is in the heart of the city, overlooking the river. The second floor is neatly detailed and functionally driven, while the ground floor is present and connected to the landscape. Subtle and expressive details can be found throughout the pavilion building, like a cantilevered awning clad in the same cedar battening as inside and an exterior sculpture niche designed to align with access routes for visitors.

The Briscoe Western Art Museum and the Jack Guenther Pavilion come together exceedingly well in downtown San Antonio, one of the most unique and culturally complex places within any city in the United States with its rich and layered history evidenced by the phrase “six flags flying over Texas.” “The Briscoe adds to that history both architecturally and with its content,” said Steven Karr, the museum’s executive director, who believes “it is a metaphor for the City of San Antonio’s growth and evolution.” Ultimately, the building is not one that challenges the role of architecture. The museum design, with the addition of the Jack Guenther Pavilion, quietly does what all great architecture should: It weaves into its context forcefully, yet in a sophisticated, legible manner that neither panders nor subjugates. As a collaborative project with Ford, Powell & Carson, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, landscape designer Pam Brandt, and the San Antonio Water System, Lake|Flato took a site in dialogue with the San Antonio River, Presa Street bridge, and the jumble of different contextual elements and proved once again that architecture can and does present solutions for an ever changing world.

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New Film, Reaching for the Moon, Traces Life of Poet Elizabeth Bishop and Architect Lota de Macedo Soares
The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.* At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Reaching for the Moon by Bruno Barreto, one of the most celebrated filmmakers from Brazil (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) was originally titled "The Art of Losing." That is the refrain of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art” which chronicles ever-increasing losses—keys, names and places; then personal mementos; escalating to homes, cities and continents; and finally love. The love and then loss of this film is Bishop’s affair with self-taught architect Lota de Macedo Soares, the woman behind Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master.* Based on Carmen L. Oliveira’s 2002 book, Rare and Commonplace Flowers, Bishop, having finished a stint as U.S. poet laureate, set sail for Brazil to get out of a writing rut in 1951. Visiting a friend from Vassar who is living with Lota in a spectacular modernist apartment in Rio and an estate in Samambaia outside the city. Here, Lota is constructing a new, modernist house of glass and stone of her own design. (Lota proudly says she’s left the moss on the stones.) The film’s location is actually the Cavanelas House (1954) in nearby Pedro do Rio by Oscar Niemeyer and landscaping by Roberto Burle Marx. (Lota’s actual house was too run down to be used.) Rectilinear in plan, the roof is hung from four corner triangular pylons like a handkerchief, using lightweight steel trusses like ropes. The landscape works with with large splashes of contrasting green and red plantings, like great brushstrokes. Inside and outside are conflated. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster.* An actual abstract painting in black, red, blue by Maria Leontina, Lota's favorite artist, is seen as we first enter the house, and Mies chairs are stacked in the new structure waiting to be placed. What Bishop does with words—phrases about constructing lines of poetry, dissecting sentences, precisely matching words to ideas—is parallel to the architecture being created by Lota. "Observations broken into lines," she says. I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master.* When the romance heats up, Lota creates a writing studio for Bishop. Lota starts by dynamiting a mountain to preserve view from the studio, which has large vertical windows with clerestory panels above, and a slightly angled roof. A large wooden deck built around trees. (The actual studio had a brick wall with circular window, a stone wall, wooden slat-walled ground floor, and a flat roof.) A custom-made amoeba shaped wooden table of blonde wood is contrasted with two dark legs, one a large oval, the other a smaller triangle, which pierce the surface creating dark geometric patterns on on tabletop. Bishop wrote most of her great poems and won a Pulitzer Prize here during the 15 years she lived with Lota. Even the clothing is of note, particularly a custom-made dress for Bishop designed by costumer designer Marcelo Pies of hand-painted silk. The print was inspired by a contemporary painting by the Brazilian artist Alfredo Volpi using the colors of the Brazilian flag: green, yellow, blue and black and white. The film’s inspiring production design is credited to José Joaquim Salles. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.* When close friend Carlos Lacerda was elected governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Lota lobbied to take a landfill on the waterfront and make it into a the largest public park in Rio, equivalent to New York’s Central Park. The result was Flamengo Park (1960-66), 300 acres of greenery, sporting grounds, amphitheater, restaurants, marina, the Museum of Modern Art and the Carmen Miranda Museum. Roberto Burle Marx, the botanist Emygdio Luiz de Mello Filho and architects Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Jorge Moreira and Sérgio Bernardes all worked under Lota’s direction. A vast undertaking, Santo Antonio Hill in the center of Rio, was taken down with water jets to gather enough earth for the park. The same machine that dredged the Panama Canal took sand from the sea to create the park’s beach. Lighting towers, with six globes circling the crown, are set extra-high to shed light like a full moon, and enable the park to be used at night, even for sport—and inspiring the film’s title. (The park’s facilities will be used during the 2016 Olympics.) But Lota was demanding and exacting, and frictions ensued. Today, most contemporary citizens of Rio think Flamengo Park was created by the landscape designer she hired, Roberto Burle Marx (who also created the actual garden in the estate which stands in for her country home in the film). Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.* * From “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop, 1976
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From The Pages Of Texas Architect: Il Duomo
[ Editor's Note: The following story, "Il Duomo," first appeared in Texas Architect's May/June 1990 issue. It was written by the late Douglas Pegues Harvey, an architect who graduated from Rice University and worked for Marmon Mok Architecture in San Antonio. It was written on the occasion of the Houston Astrodome's 25th anniversary as a sort of homage as well as a protest for the fact that the building was not chosen for the AIA Twenty-Five Year Award. Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch was. (Incidentally, another Houston project was chosen for the 2013 25-Year Award.) We are rerunning this story, with permission, because today, September 17, is the registration deadline for Reimagine the Astrodome, AN and YKK AP's Astrodome Reuse Design Ideas Competition. Due to the overwhelming enthusiasm surrounding the competitionwe've decided to extend the registration dealing to Monday, September 23. So if you were sleeping, wake up! Sign up today! (Also, if you have the chops to write articles like "Il Duomo" and want to contribute to AN Southwest, please contact Aaron Seward, aseward@archpaper.com.) ] It's not every building that gets to be known as The Eighth Wonder Of The World. Texas' nominee, the Astrodome, opened 25 years ago as the world's finest interior landscape. On Apr. 9,1965, a time when the hegemony of television and the standing of the Sunbelt in American life were not yet secure, the Astrodome opening struck a telling blow on their behalf. The occasion was a Houston Astro's exhibition baseball game against the New York Yankees. With President Lyndon Johnson watching, Mickey Mantle (naturally) hit the first home run, but the Astro's (necessarily) won. The experience left visitors, well, bug-eyed. At 642 feet, the Astrodome's clear span more than doubled that of any previous enclosure. Its parking lot, the world's largest, held 30,000 cars. That sort of thing. A few miles away, NASA was making its great thrust into the infinite, silent sea. It was one of those times when events get larger than life. The Dome has had its true believers—evangelist Billy Graham, who held Crusade for Christ there its first year, and who knows something about the ancient world, has been credited with the "Eighth Wonder" phrase—and its critics—writer Larry McMurtry, for instance, described it as "the working end of the world's largest deodorant stick." In purely compositional terms, it may not have done much. Long-span technology and multi-use ingenuity have long since passed it by. All the same, there are other measures of the success of this project. Not only did it bring the pageant of stadium sports inside, its introduction of Astroturf permanently changed the "envelope of performance" of all sports previously played on grass. Its "skyboxes" represent a milepost in the evolution of the contemporary notion of "upscale," and transformed the financial structure of professional sports. It even created a new building type—a room where you could see cars colliding in mid-air. And to top it all, it was even a bargain: the construction cost of $18.7 million translates to $64 million in 1989 dollars (including financing, total cost was $107.1 million in 1989 dollars.) But to posterity, the most important test of a building is not in the continuing influence of its various innovations but in how it engages and alters the mythic landscape. By this standard, the Dome is a landmark of the first order. At its opening the Dome was an instant celebrity and since then it has maintained a star billing that few buildings of any kind ever achieve. It is, as they say, the original. It certainly wasn't just a "stadium." Only Yankee Stadium, beneficiary of decades of press exposure in the more-or-less Capital of the World, has approached a similar status. But the Dome isn't really a "building," either. Ironically, one measure of its impact is that it has never been casually thought of or described in architectural terms. It is a different category of thing, ill-defined but clearly unique and "other." In homage, equivalent buildings are customarily called "domes" even when they are not at all dome-like—the Hoosier Dome, the Pontiac Silverdome. Despite its cable suspension roof hung from four 300-foot towers, the sports and convention palace now being designed for San Antonio is persistently referred to as the "Alamodome." The story of the Astrodome's creation is a form of surrealist frontier melodrama where financial risk-taking, political deal-making, and architectural daring intersect to recast the fates of humanity redefining our perceptions about the nature of buildings, the functions they contain, and the culture they represent. The Dome was a product of the unspoken conviction that there were, and could be, no limits. Volumetrically, the Astrodome peculiarly resembles the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Atlanta Ga., which opened about the same time. Both buildings redefined and revitalized a building type so as to create new images and possibilities, and they both did so in the same way—by going beyond Piranesi to create infinite space. One of the recurring themes in American cultural history is the quest for Zion—breaking out into infinite space to create (or regain) the ideal landscape and community—to get back to the Garden. When NASA began giving that quest its ultimate form, a conceptual boundary was created that demanded a new understanding of architectural "space." The significance of the Astrodome and the Hyatt-Regency lies in their re-presentation of this quest as an introspective one, by establishing the possibility of an infinite interior space. The Astrodome engages the sense of the infinite paradoxically. A single-space building, no matter how huge, appears larger inside than outside. Once inside, you lose the scalar cues the landscape and sky normally provide and have only the structure itself as a frame of reference. But our personal and evolutionary experience with the natural world have conditioned us to interpret the background as all-encompassing. Therefore we read the distant walls as the natural background, and perceptually "overscale" any uncommonly large interior; the larger the room, the more pronounced the effect. The Astrodome simply raises this effect to a higher order of magnitude. It encloses so much volume that the roof's visual weight is inadequate to delimit the scale, and the space becomes perceptually unbounded. Viewed through our prejudice in favor of overscaling, it reads as bigger than immeasurably big—infinite. The roof is no more than a gossamer web of steel clouds drifting above the field, completing a vision of the cosmos. Because an infinite space cannot be "inside" anything, in the Astrodome, you are not, therefore, "inside." A parallel physiological effect then reinforces this message. When we gaze into the distance, the alignment and focus of our eyes gives us a certain neuromuscular feedback that we associate with the wide-open spaces. In neuromuscular terms, a sufficiently distant roof is the same as the sky. The meaning derived from these phenomena are profoundly different from those evoked by the sense of being inside. Freed of ultimate closure, the Astrodome becomes a microcosm, as though it were a colony in space or on society's conceptual frontier (which, in a sense, it was), with a wholeness independent of the outside world. It is even a dome—a form loaded with historical references to the sacred and the infinite. Its location at the edge of the limitless prairie, in a nearly infinite parking lot, heightens the air of surrealism while its name appropriates the aura of outer space on behalf of inner space. Subjecting the building's functions to such an articulate vastness gives them a jamais vu quality. By its association with the cosmic vision, any mass spectator event instantly becomes a grander, more intense, more focused spectacle; its emotional equations are transformed. The first indoor baseball game became, figuratively, the first game of all time. However, intensifying the ritual to such a degree also transforms it into entertainment. Beginning with that first indoor baseball game, the sense and even the pretense of continuity and reciprocity between participants and spectators (such as that postulated by the Texas A&M "twelfth man" tradition) were forever abandoned. The first spectators in the Astrodome became the live audience in the world's largest television studio, furnished with theater seats, not bleachers, with a scoreboard that lit up like a game in an arcade. Finally the Caesars in the skyboxes had a suitably spectacular barbarity to entertain them. Success, it is said, has a thousand fathers. It may already be too late to establish with certainty who originated the idea for a covered, air-conditioned baseball stadium. It is clear that various business owners in Houston during the 1950's were campaigning to bring major league baseball to town. There were studies for a "War Memorial Stadium" that even became the Astrodome in order to cement the design with the National League. Public sentiment credits Judge Roy Hofheinz, the Dome's guiding genius and co-owner of its master lease. One story has it that he got the idea for a sports stadium as a tourist in Italy, on learning that the Colosseum (home to blood sports and human sacrifices) had a retractable sunshade. Prior to getting involved in baseball, certainly, the Judge was in a race (won by Frank Sharp at Sharpstown) to develop Houston's first air-conditioned shopping mall, and was thoroughly familiar with the design and construction of long-span, air-conditioned assembly spaces. Moreover, the idea was already in the air. Tycoon Glenn McCarthy may have proposed a covered stadium during the 1940s. Walter O'Malley considered building a covered stadium for the Dodgers while they were still in Brooklyn, and Harris County officials met with him in Los Angeles in the late 50s. But in mythological terms the Colosseum connection is true, regardless of its actuality. It invokes the laying-on of hands, conveying the splendor of ancient Rome from its Pantheon to the new cathedral of America's sports religion. In an article in Architectural Design in 1970, Peter Papademetriou equated the Astrodome to St Peter's as a gigantic urban-edge project that established a defining physical and social form. In the beginning, the glory of Rome gave a desirable gloss to the Astrodome's image. But today comparisons to either St. Peter's or the Colosseum are redundant. The Dome, not Rome, is the archetypal social form across the land. With the coming of the Dome, spectacle at last reached the intensity necessary to bridge the mythic distance from baseball, diffuse and subtle, to football, especially professional football, a gladiatorial contest worthy of the first Colosseum. The elevation of the spectacle also transformed the nature of the "occasion" surrounding football as ritual event. Formerly, the game itself was only the zone of greatest density of meaning imbedded in an extended activity. In the ancestral pattern, getting there was half the fun—the journey, visits to relatives or friends, the tailgate party, the post-game celebration. (The old ways survive in Dallas the night before the Texas-Oklahoma football game and during "Texas Week" at Texas A&M.) Even the game's prostration before the elements, though sometimes inconvenient, was symbolically meaningful. Through this, the larger event maintained its ties to, and signified its place in, a world larger than the game itself. No longer. Thanks to the possibilities for artifice liberated by the Astrodome, the Event has been freed from its dependency on Nature's caprice and God's sky. The Game has achieved purity of essence. It is reborn as a feature attraction in the world of focused entertainment values based on network television and the ultimate macho voyeurism of Monday Night Football. The feat of mythic transformation wrought by the Astrodome is acknowledged by the attitudes of professional sports leagues towards indoor play. Even though baseball is always postponed for bad weather, major-league baseball will not consider indoor locations for prospective expansion teams. On the other hand, football, which is traditionally played regardless of the weather, has wholly embraced indoor stadiums. Whereas baseball is a ritual celebration of mythic space, football possesses and defines it. So while baseball needs the presence of the outside world and is diminished indoors, football is only rendered more intense and primal by the technical refinement that indoor play makes possible. So where has the Astrodome been all these years? Somewhere at once beneath the notice of the architecture profession and beyond its imagination. What if the Astrodome didn't further the "ennobling" of architecture—it forcefully, purposefully, massively, irredeemably changed the social landscape. If any building merits the AIA's 25-year award, it's the Astrodome. That the architecture profession has failed to recognize it as a key monument offers strong evidence that our criteria for measuring architectural quality remain woefully narrow, drawing so heavily on fineness of composition and on an abstract view of form that they blind us to the emotional, experiential character of our relationships with buildings. Douglas Pegues Harvey
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Urban Ecology Center Finds New Grounds at San Antonio’s Phil Hardberger Park
Last Saturday, the San Antonio community inaugurated the Lake|Flato Architects–designed Urban Ecology Center (UEC). Sited on the West Side of Phil Hardberger Park, the 18,600-square-foot UEC will be home to the Alamo Area Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. This latest showpiece in the city’s park system will serve as a functional ecological system, a meeting space, and an urban ecology learning facility. Parks Project Manager Sandy Jenkins explained that the center was built with the intention of informing future generations about environmental concerns and the preservation of ecological systems. Former mayor Phil Hardberger, who recognized the asset of parks in improving the general urban quality of life, originally prompted the construction of the park in 2010. Covering 311 acres on eiter side of the Wurzbach Parkway, it was built as a means to preserve San Antonio's environmental treasures and natural heritage. The UEC is a $6.3 million LEED green project and was funded by the largest municipal bond program in San Antonio history. It is equipped with water harvesting and reclamation systems, which minimize both operational costs and impacts on the environment. The center is constructed out of sustainable materials and irrigated by an extensive rainwater collection system and a bio-swale that collects run-off, stores it into a detention basin, and reuses it when needed. It is also armed with photovoltaic solar panels capable of powering three average houses. The 8:00 a.m. opening attracted more than 500 visitors, including architects, neighbors, park employees, and environmental activists. It featured guided hikes, a wide array of presentations by civic leaders, green building and recycling awareness, and hands-on wildlife activities. The center embodies San Antonio’s communal effort to preserve its natural landscape and shows how the city has developed a sense of environmental stewardship. A significant amount of work still needs to be done, as only 60 percent of the park's construction has been completed.
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Urban Backyard
Courtesy Lehrer Architects

Downtown LA’s Historic Core finally has the backyard its booming residential population sorely needs. Spring Street Park opened last month on the former site of a surface parking lot between several high-rise residential buildings.

The process of transforming the plot into a park began when the Bureau of Recreation and Parks purchased the site in 2009 using Quimby Fees—paid by developers to fund public open spaces and parks. Rec and Parks then hired the Architectural Division of the city’s Bureau of Engineering as project managers, and Los Angeles-based Lehrer Architects as its design collaborator. The Architectural Division led a public outreach process, which revealed that the community wanted the park to be a sophisticated, outdoor urban space with something for everyone.  

   
 

The 0.7-acre, $8 million park makes efficient use of its L-shaped parcel. A diagonally oriented grassy ellipse crosses the northern end, where the majority of sunlight falls throughout the year. A water feature doubles as a fence in the northwestern corner, and a children’s playground occupies the northeastern corner. A long plaza occupies the southern end of the park, which may one day be home to an outdoor café.

Spaces throughout the park encourage private uses by one person or small groups. Urban serenity is also available on a circumnavigating path, which provides a circuit for people and strollers. A diagonal walkway bisects the site, providing a potential future passage between the northern and southern ends and connecting the rear alley to Spring Street. An adjacent driveway could also become space for al fresco dining for a soon-to-open restaurant.

 

Live bamboo rings the park. As it grows it will provide a screen, increasing the backyard feel of the space. The bamboo motif is continued in the pattern of the aluminum chairs found throughout the site. The patterns change in different light conditions, adding to the feeling of flexibility and convertibility.

City officials gathered at the park’s opening to celebrate it as a “jewel in the crown” of a changing Los Angeles. It is number 16 in former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s “50 Park” initiative, which has seen small green spaces go up around the city. At the opening, Rec and Parks Commission President Barry Sanders said the number of parks that the initiative will eventually achieve will be even higher: 53, or a 20 percent increase in the total number of public green spaces in the city.