Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":

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The long-delayed Los Angeles State Historic Park finally opens to the public

The long-delayed Los Angeles State Historic Park opened to the public this weekend, capping off a two-decade-long saga for local and state officials and residents. The current iteration of the park has been in development since 2005 and is the first California State Park in the City of Los Angeles. It is located on a multi-layered historical site that originally housed an indigenous settlement home to Los Angeles’s Tongva indigenous community. The park sits along a broad, gently-sloping plane that connected the Tongva’s main settlement in the vicinity of today’s Union Station with the Los Angeles River, roughly one mile away. Native peoples used the river for bathing purposes and water collection. Later in its history, the site served as a railway and warehouse hub for Los Angeles’s burgeoning immigrant communities. The site currently sits at a nexus between a constellation of working class neighborhoods, including Lincoln Heights, Elysian Park, Solano Canyon, Chinatown, Chavez Ravine, and William Mead Homes public housing. Efforts to remake the disused industrial area into a park began in the 1990s via the work of community activists known as the Chinatown Yard Alliance who came together to stop the redevelopment of the site into a new industrial warehouse complex. The park was designed by in-house architects and landscape architects with the California State Parks service, who took over a Hargreaves Associates-designed proposal from 2006. The Hargreaves Associates plan was originally chosen as part of an international design competition in 2006 and was abandoned due to the financial crisis of 2008. The park was built using $20.8 million in funding appropriated by the state in later years, a funding package that includes parks- and clean water-related initiatives. The park is organized into three programmatic areas, including a “Great Lawn” at the southern and central portions of the park for field games, a series of wetlands along the northern end of the park that connects to the Los Angeles River, and a collection of interpretive centers and cultural structures arranged along North Spring Street, the eastern border of the park. The park is threaded with a sinuous jogging trail and also contains a series of mounds connected by a large, sculptural bridge. Portions of the park are designed to become submerged during rain events in order to allow for groundwater infiltration and sequestration. The two cultural structures on the site are also designed with catenary-shaped roofs meant to collect and channel rainwater into underground cisterns. The park is planted with a wide selection of native and imported plant species, including species introduced to the area by Spanish conquerors; agricultural specimens; and ornamental plantings meant to denote the region’s post-World War II flora. There are several installations dedicated specifically to native plantings. Artist collective Fallen Fruit has developed a small orchard installation, as well. California State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León celebrated the park via press release, saying, “Too many of our kids grow up without park access, with nowhere to play, have a birthday party, or a picnic. This park has it all—walkways, bike paths, nature, history, the L.A. skyline—and all within steps of Chinatown,” adding, “This spot is intrinsic to the birth of L.A. and is just as much a museum to LA history as it is an open green space.”
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Los Angeles’s A+D Museum to host Free School of Architecture

The Architecture and Design Museum (A+D) in Los Angeles has announced it will host the Free School of Architecture (FSA) during its inaugural session this summer. The tuition-free architecture school launches June 1 and runs through July 15th, 2017, catering to a cohort of 36 students accepted to the school from across the world. The six-week session will feature free courses on a variety of architectural topics taught by ten unpaid lecturers. The school also aims to launch with an inaugural symposium at the museum on the first day of classes. The convocation—dubbed “FREE”—will focus on the current and future states of architectural education and aims to delve into “new forms of education and pedagogy, disciplinary [and] vocational conversations, the socio-economics of education and post-digital and post-studio education.” FSA also plans to publish an online and print journal titled FSAONE. In a statement, founder Peter Zellner said: "We are very grateful for the museum's spirit of collaboration. In particular, I am especially honored by A+D Executive Director Dora Epstein-Jones's vision, generous support and advocacy for the Free School of Architecture." The partnership is not new for A+D, an institution with deep ties to architectural public education. Epstein-Jones—a founding member of the FSA Advisory Board—explained in a statement that the partnership would bolster A+D’s role in the architectural community: “We are pleased to offer classes and spaces in our galleries to this endeavor, and to be a true center for architectural discourse in our city. Education is our ethical mission at the A+D Museum." FSA was started by Zellner following a thought-provoking debate between Zellner and Southern California Institute of Architecture faculty Todd Gannon via The Architect’s Newspaper. See here for Zellner’s original editorial, Architectural education is broken—here’s how to fix it, and here for Gannon’s response: Of prophets and professionals: a response to Peter Zellner. For more information, visit the FSA website.
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Renderings emerge for proposed LAX transit hub

New renderings have come to light depicting the new Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) $600 million multi-modal 96th Street Transit Station serving Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).   The link would connect mass transit riders on the Green and forthcoming Crenshaw/LAX light rail lines with the airport’s forthcoming automated peoplemover system. The renderings, first published by Urbanize.la, detail the forthcoming structure at the corner of Aviation Boulevard and Arbor Vista Street in South Los Angeles. The station would span a 9.5-acre site approximately one mile east of the airport and would mark the first light rail connection to LAX in the airport’s history. The airport is currently served by a shuttle service linking the Aviation / LAX station on the Green Line with the facility. The regional Flyaway commuter buses and several traditional bus lines also connect to the airport, in addition to automobile traffic, taxi, and rideshare services. The transit station will include space for automobile drop offs, a bus bus terminal, and a bicycle hub. The new station comes as LAX undergoes a series of expansions and upgrades, including the addition of a new $1.6 billion  international terminal and concourse by Gensler and Corgan meant to accommodate next generation Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets. That expansion—dubbed the Midfield Satellite Concourse—would link to the existing Tom Bradley International Terminal via a pair of underground tunnels and would contain 50,000 square feet of gateway spaces, including a 44,000-square-foot food court and 60,000 square feet of lounges and other waiting area facilities, among other components. LAX was ranked seventh busiest airport worldwide in 2015, according to one survey, with over 70 million passengers that year. The region’s lack of direct light or heavy rail access to LAX have been a long-vexing problem for city and regional planners—not to mention airport travelers—for decades and were described by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 as "a historic mistake of our past." The new station is expected to open sometime between 2021 and 2023.
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USC School of Architecture picks Milton Curry as new dean

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture in Los Angeles has chosen Milton S. F. Curry as its new dean. Curry comes to USC from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he is currently associate dean for academic affairs and strategic initiatives. Curry is an accomplished practitioner and academic who has worked with the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, built speculative real estate and architectural projects in Oakland, California, and worked for client Def Jam entertainment, among others. Curry is also the founder of CriticalProductive Journal—an academic journal focused on architecture, urbanism, and cultural theory—and was one of the co-founders behind Appendx Journal in the early 1990s. According to a statement released by USC, Curry is “at the forefront of disciplinary areas on race, architecture, and urbanism that engages cultural theory and humanities research.” Curry earned a bachelor of architecture from Cornell University and a master in architecture post-professional degree with distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Curry has spent several decades teaching across the country. He taught for several years at Arizona State University in the early 1990s and began teaching at Cornell University Department of Architecture in 1995. He became tenured faculty at Cornell in 2002 and left for the University of Michigan in 2010. At the University of Michigan, Curry is also a tenured professor. Curry will replace current dean Qingyun Ma, who announced he would be leaving the post in 2016, after two five-year terms; Ma will stay on as USC faculty. Curry’s tenure at USC will be effective July 1, 2017.
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Updated: Peter Zumthor unveils new images and concepts for LACMA replacement

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan have unveiled a slew of new images and design concepts for a scheme aiming to replace Los Angeles's largest art museum with a new 368,000-square foot complex. The plans were revealed last night during a joint talk delivered by Zumthor and Govan to a packed audience at the Brown Auditorium on the LACMA campus, where Govan explained that the project sought to re-signify the museum experience and undermine the traditional museum typology by creating a structure with “no back, no front.” The efforts, according to Govan and Zumthor, are aimed at granting prominence to art objects more equally, instead of relegating certain collections to the museum’s nether regions, as is currently the case. The plans build on a previously-released—and much-derided scheme—that aims to create a large, continuous gallery elevated high above the museum’s site in a structure that would span across Wilshire Boulevard to the south. The sinuous, oil-slick inspired structure—an homage to the La Brea Tar Pits next door—is lifted above the ground on a series of seven pavilion towers that house public galleries, conservation spaces, circulation, ground level cafes and restaurants, and an amphitheater. The pavilions stretch up into the levitated mass to create a complex set of interlocking gallery spaces. According to Zumthor, the project contains four types of galleries along this level: so-called meander galleries along the periphery, with smaller “pocket galleries” located throughout and grouped “cluster galleries” and “tower galleries” contained within the pavilions. The “tower galleries” in the scheme will be located within tall, triple-height light cannons meant to funnel sunlight into the galleries. The design is capped by a massive, continuously overhanging roof that would shield the museum’s collection from southern sun; black, retractable drapes are to be installed along eastern and western exposures to control for low-angle solar glare. Zumthor expressed a strong desire to create a museum from “real materials, not sheetrock,” and has proposed board-formed concrete surfaces for the gallery interiors. The building’s exterior—in fact, the entire building, generally speaking—will be made of concrete, as well. This material, depicted in the new images in mud-colored tones, is meant to evoke the Texas Limestone cladding of the nearby Renzo Piano–designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum and A.C. Martin–designed May Company building. In describing the project, Zumthor explained that his scheme originated with the traditional, non-purpose-built art museum: spaces originally constructed as homes for elite art patrons that brought in light via peripheral windows. This “side light,” according to Zumthor, creates dynamic conditions that allow patrons to “make personal discoveries” within artworks and drove the concept’s organization of small, oddly-shaped galleries with various connections to the outdoors. A preliminary timeline for the project aims to finish the project by 2023, in time for the opening of a new subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard. For more info, see the LACMA website.
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Development team releases renderings for North Hollywood’s new skyline

Areas around the only heavy rail transit stop in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley are poised to change dramatically as a new plan calling for the addition of over 1,500 residential units to the area coalesces. The redevelopment plan—orchestrated as a joint proposal by developers Trammell Crow Company, Greenland USA, Cesar Chavez Foundation, architects Gensler, and landscape architects Melendrez—also aims to bring roughly 450,000-square feet of offices and 150,000-square feet of ground-level commercial spaces to a collection of lots owned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) surrounding the North Hollywood Red Line station. The plans will also consolidate a series of bus turnaround areas around the station into a single transfer complex. Urbanize LA reports that the plan, to be detailed in an upcoming presentation by the development to L.A. Metro’s San Fernando Valley Service Council (SFVSC), comes after Trammell Crow and Greenland had initially proposed two competing schemes. A rendering of the proposed project showcases a collection of mixed-use towers surrounding a series of open plaza areas and the new bus turnaround. The renderings depict the tallest tower as a podium-style structure located at the northern corner of the site, with a much shorter, perimeter block structure topped with a green roof standing beside it. The back corner of the site is populated by several courtyard apartment building complexes and a mid-rise housing tower. Another tall tower will be located on a corner opposing the main portion of the development. The complex is designed as a Transit Oriented Community (TOC), a notion that builds on transit-accessibility at the core of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects by including “holistic community development” that engages not only with mass transit but also facilitates pedestrian activities, according to the report that will be shown to the SFVSC. The plan comes out of a series of community scoping meetings conducted by L.A. Metro and the developers that uncovered historic preservation of the surrounding NoHo Arts District and balance between height, density, and pedestrianism as major community concerns. As such, the development will aim to engage and building upon existing street life in the pedestrian-heavy node while also adding generous paseos between various structures to create pedestrian paths around the station. The project will also include an unspecified number of affordable housing units. A detailed timeline for the project has not been released.
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Bestor Architecture designs new home for Silverlake Conservatory of Music

Bestor Architecture completed work late last year on new facilities for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, a music education organization started by Michael “Flea” Balzary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, music educator Keith Barry, and producer-engineer-mixer-musician Pete Weiss in 2001. The organization helps fill the growing lack of arts education and offers paid classes for the community’s youth as well as fully subsidized scholarships for public school students who qualify for their free lunch program.

The conservatory is located in a 1931 warehouse that has been carefully restored by the architects. An extant wood bowstring truss roof caps the expansive and well-lit interior, while new construction is distributed via faceted volumes that contain 12 practice rooms. These rooms are insulated for sound, featuring double walls and gaskets around windows and doors. Surrounding surfaces made of plywood, cork, and carpeted in certain areas, have also been calibrated to absorb sound.

A mezzanine platform overlooks new volumes that create what Barbara Bestor, principal at Bestor Architecture, has described as an “urban village.” The remaining nooks and crannies created by the resulting geometries are populated by hang-out spaces and can be utilized as a concert hall that holds up to 150 guests.

Silverlake Conservatory of Music 4652 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles Tel: 323-665-3363 Architect: Bestor Architecture

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MADWORKSHOP’s Homeless Studio at USC delves into rapid rehousing prototype design

The MADWORKSHOP Homeless Studio, taught by University of Southern California faculty Sofia Borges and R. Scott Mitchell, spent the fall 2016 semester exploring how architecture students can use their skills to address the growing homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.

The studio was funded by MADWORKSHOP, a nonprofit started by David and Mary Martin of the A.C. Martin family in 2005 to bridge the classroom and real world architectural experiences. This semester, the group explored the architectural manifestations of homelessness in order to have students postulate solutions aimed at re-housing individuals.

For their first assignment, students combined off-the-shelf and found materials into mobile “nomadic shelters.” One group repurposed the chassis of a shopping cart, adding telescoping plywood platforms to create covered sleeping surfaces. Two prototypes are designed for bicycle transport: One, a generous box on wheels, utilizes welded aluminum sections for structure and infill panels made of wood and corrugated plastic, while a second works as a mobile bed with a retractable plywood roof wrapped in canvas drop cloth. Others are designed as pushcarts that facilitate fully reclined sleeping positions, with drop-down, accordion-hinged hatches or telescoping pod sections. The prototypes convey a keen sense of appreciation for the dexterity with which transient populations live their day-to-day lives: The compartments on each prototype can lock shut and are designed to be packed up in a few minutes using minimal labor.

Next, students worked with artist Gregory Kloehn to build single-room “tiny homes” that can be used on a semi-permanent basis. These makeshift explorations are designed with space for a bed and reading nook, and were crafted from found objects including shipping pallets, a truck camper, and even mannequin busts, which were used as shingle siding. Here, the students were able to explore the minutiae of domesticity to a level of intimacy not typically emphasized in undergraduate architectural education. The students designed and built cupboards, countertops, and shelving. The emphasis was on introducing subtle aspects of domestic life for occupants, like threshold conditions that could be used as a type of front porch, beds differentiated from the ground, and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of privacy. “A quiet space to get stabilized,” explained Borges, who is also acting director of MADWORKSHOP.

Next, the class partnered with Hope of the Valley, a faith-based missionary organization active in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley area—a region that saw its homelessness population increase by 36 percent last year—to develop a modular rapid-rehousing prototype the organization could deploy as needed.

Over the second half of the semester, the class consulted with fabricators, architects, housing developers, and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to develop a series of prototypes that could be deployed in as little as two weeks. Vacant lots, the students postulated, could be used as sites for so-called rapid re-housing approaches, tiered measures aimed at re-introducing formerly homeless individuals to sheltered life. Their plans incorporate existing parking lots, under-utilized land, and potentially, land currently slated for redevelopment but not yet under construction, as sites for these temporary housing projects.

The group maintained an eye on the nuts-and-bolts aspects of its proposals, incorporating the technical nuances of the building code into the schemes and settling on a 30-unit courtyard housing proposal that would provide housing units for individuals on a floor above shared eating and leisure areas. The Americans with Disabilities Act compliant complex was also designed with access points for Hope of the Valley’s mobile healthcare team to pick up and drop off patients. Borges described the overall design process: “We brought in all levels [of the design and review process] to the conversation; we’ve really been making it a priority to be compliant on all levels so that we are not a proposing pie-in-the-sky proposal, but a solution.” The team worked to generate modular approaches that could not only be rapidly built, but potentially exist as pre-approved designs vetted by city agencies, ready to be deployed immediately. Mitchell said, “as unit production increases, overall costs will drop via economy of scale. The mobile aspect of the units will have a further costs savings as they are redeployed across multiple sites.”

The class built a full-scale mock-up for its final review, fabricated using the university’s shop. The result is striking in its efficiency: 92-square-feet of white-walled interiors outfitted with a built-in dresser, bed, and desk made of plywood. The rectangular space is outfitted with a special window assembly on the end opposite the door that has been designed to facilitate passive ventilation. From the outside, the modular nature comes into greater focus, as the welded steel moment frame with structural insulated panels is used to structure the module against the white, surface-nailed exterior cladding made of enameled aluminum sheets. The metal frames are designed to attach to adjacent modules while also providing overall structure to the complex.

The plans were praised at the studio’s final reviews, which were attended by representatives from Hope of the Valley, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, nonprofit homeless housing provider Skid Row Housing Trust, and others. Next, the team plans on moving forward with city agencies to get working drawings for the module approved so the pods can be fabricated and deployed across the city.

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Artist builds replica of “2001: A Space Odyssey” set in L.A. warehouse

In a new immersive art experience on the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles, Hong Kong–based artist Simon Birch has created a replica of the iconic bedroom from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Birch collaborated with architect Paul Kember of Hong Kong–based firm KplusK to create the space as part of his project The 14th Factory. The duo worked carefully to mimic the details of the original set in ambiance and coloring, using illuminated floor tiles to give the space its otherworldly glow. The replica bedroom, titled The Barmecide Feast, is one of fourteen spaces that weave together across the three acres of the warehouse to create one immersive journey. Birch collaborated with twenty interdisciplinary artists to create this multi-media extravaganza, with work ranging from installations and paintings to video and performance art. “My hope for The 14th Factory is to bring a broad range of minds together, to uplift and inspire, ignite conversation, action, and solutions but also to provoke,” said Birch in a press release. “There are installations here that discuss love, loss, fear, pain, hope... our shared experience, but that also ask the question; as civilizations have risen and fallen, are we now at the brink of collapse or the start of a wonderful new chapter?” Birch continues to explain that he hopes the Factory will act as a “safe haven” where people are able to immerse themselves in a journey and be transformed. It would seem Birch is going further than replicating the cult film’s iconic set, also paralleling its existential quest examining the future of mankind. Birch and his collaborators are currently turning the multi-media adventure into a documentary-style film, where visitors take on the role of protagonists as the space’s story unfolds. The space is currently open to visitors by appointment, and Birch hopes to temporarily open the space to the public once filming has concluded. For more information visiting or about the artists featured at The 14th Factory, you can visit their website here.
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Gehry Partners breaks ground on 80,000-square-foot L.A. office complex

Los Angeles–based architects Gehry Partners and real estate developer NSB Associates have quietly started construction on an 80,000-square-foot creative office building in Los Angeles’s El Segundo area, establishing a new foothold for the region’s burgeoning Silicon Beach area. The new open-office structure is modeled on the traditional warehouse typologies that are typically being converted to office uses in other parts of the city, including the Arts District downtown. Instead of being organized in a typical manner with a sea of parking lots surrounding the warehouse structure, the project—named Ascend by the development team—is designed to be vertically-stacked, with office uses located above a covered parking structure. The complex is also designed with a large degree of exterior glazing, in contrast to many of the existing, often masonry construction warehouse structures being converted into office spaces. The complex is studded with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and 24-foot tall interior volumes. Sam Gehry—Frank Gehry's son who is also an architect—described the outdoor areas in a promotional video for the project, saying, "We're able to maximize the buildable area of the lot [by stacking the office above parking] to create this large floor plate building. Part of what that allowed us to do architecturally... [is to create] entries at four points on the podium level that [also] become nice outdoor amenities and outdoor space." The building will also contain roughly 16,000 square feet of private outdoor space accessible to the office areas that will double as circulation cores for the parking structure. The complex is to be located a short walk from the Green Line light rail line and is expected to be open for occupation by the fourth quarter of 2017. For more information, see the Ascend website.
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Renderings revealed for 994-unit development in Little Tokyo

Renderings have been released for a DGB +Line-designed mixed-use, podium-style project on the eastern edge of Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo neighborhood. The project, if built as proposed, will begin the process of extending the Downtown Los Angeles skyline eastward. According to a report filed with the city, the development aims to replace the existing Little Tokyo Gallery indoor mall 333 S. Alameda Street with a collection of mid- and high-rise residential towers: 994 housing units and 100,000 square feet of retail in all. The development will include 160 affordable housing units as well as 110 live/work units within the overall total. Like other large-scale projects being proposed for the surrounding areas, the project will be carved into smaller masses via outdoor, retail-lined passageways. 333 S. Alameda is proposed as a podium-style development punctuated by four towers, the highest of which could rise up to 34-stories in height. The complex will feature a pair of taller towers on the northwest corner of the site with a linear cluster of 10- to 15-story blocks along Alameda Street. Renderings released showcase glass- and panel-clad facades for the taller towers with punched opening-studded frontages along the shorter blocks. The transformative project lies at an elbow between the bustling Little Tokyo and booming Arts District neighborhoods and will be just two blocks from the forthcoming Regional Connector light rail transit stop at First Street and Central Avenue. Furthermore, the project sits along the Alameda Street Corridor, a regional thoroughfare that Los Angeles Metro is exploring for a potential light rail line to Santa Ana. It is also not alone in terms of tall, dense projects: Herzog & de Meuron and developer SunCal are working on a $2 billion mixed-use tower project at 6th and Alameda Streets. In fact, several of the sites surrounding 333 S. Alameda are currently in the process of being redeveloped as taller developments, including another podium-style building to be located directly across the street at 330 S. Alameda by VTBS Architects. A timeline for construction has not been released.
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New details emerge for L.A.’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

The board of directors for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) recently chose Los Angeles as the latest—and potentially final—site for its troubled museum proposal.

The decision marks the third attempt by the LMNA museum board to find a location for the nearly $1 billion museum—resulting in multiple design schemes by MAD Architects. The LMNA will house a growing and expansive collection of graphic art, including works by Zaha Hadid, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others.

MAD Architects’ initial designs for a site north of San Francisco were rebuffed in 2015 after community outcry. The LMNA team made a try for a site in Chicago in 2016, only to eventually scrap the plans in the face of fierce opposition to the project’s proposed location on the Chicago’s lakefront by a local community group. Most recently, LMNA’s board made parallel pitches for two sites in California: one on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and another in L.A.’s Exposition Park.

L.A. won out this round, gaining another cultural amenity for a site already home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center, and the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County. The new museum, if built, will also be located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line, and will help—along with a forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium—extend a leg of transit-oriented development from a growing entertainment and hotel district in the South Park neighborhood nearby to one of L.A.’s core working class neighborhoods.

In announcing its decision, the Lucas Foundation’s board of directors extolled the virtues of the urban park and its surrounding neighborhood, saying in a statement: “While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging, and educating a broad and diverse visitorship.”

In an effort to preserve the park’s green spaces, the selected scheme will include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the curvaceous museum located in a leafy, park setting topped with tufts of greenery. The museum also appears to gingerly touch the ground by coming down in a series of large, discrete piers.

It’s still unclear what sorts of developmental hurdles the museum will need to surpass prior to construction, but the project clearly has a fan in L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who after learning of the decision, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.”