Posts tagged with "Mia Lehrer + Associates":
Since opening in 2016, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (Metro) new Expo Line light rail has yielded an array of world-class public amenities at its western end in Santa Monica, including the new Ishihara Park by Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA).
The 2.35-acre buffer park—named after local World War II veteran George Haruyoshi Ishihara and commissioned by the City of Santa Monica—is built on a slight 110-foot-by-55-foot space set aside during construction of a new maintenance facility servicing Metro's Expo Line fleet.
Astrid Sykes, senior associate at MLA, said that the firm designed Ishihara Park to be “more than just a buffer” between the low-rise neighborhood and the monolithic maintenance depot. “We designed it to be a true asset for the community as well,” Sykes explained. The multifaceted park, shaped by local input, reflects a desire to create spaces for recreation and decompression that also sequester carbon and groundwater.
To meet these ends, the park is organized as a series of discrete “garden rooms”—a bird habitat, community pavilion, rock garden, fruit grove, and meadow—connected by a meandering half-mile-long walking trail.
The far western end of the park not only contains vine-covered trellis structures, salvaged pine trees, and lush undergrowth habitats for birds, but also has a collection of stationary exercise equipment. Tranquil wooded trails flow through the bird-habitat/exercise area and lead to a central community space. Here, a pair of lawns and two picnic pavilions flank a plaza. The picnic pavilions are spared in their construction: A set of steel-beam structures that provide shade over streamlined cast-concrete picnic benches. Between the pavilions, low concrete walls studded with integrated cantilevered seating frame the plaza, while four light poles run tidily through the center of the space in parallel with surrounding trees. The eastern pavilion runs into a second, diminutive lawn populated by smooth concrete sitting-rocks and benches made from planed-off logs.
Beyond the lawn is a fenced playground—called the “rock garden”—containing a parabolic swing set, climbing-rock area, merry-go-round, and an assortment of sinuous cast-concrete benches. Further down its length, the park contains a fledgling orchard and a teaching garden. At the far eastern end, the walking path splinters into a series of sand-packed trails that frame a collection of ficus trees.
The ends of the park are populated by trees, some already existing on the site, others transplanted from along the light rail line’s path. The end result, according to Sykes, is “a new park in the spirit our changing metropolis.”
This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) officials announced in late March that the recently decommissioned Silver Lake Reservoir will be refilled over the next few months. The reservoir was emptied in 2015 after a new underground reservoir was constructed nearby, leaving behind an empty, 45-foot-deep dust bowl. Neighbors have been debating for months over how—and with which type of water—the reservoir would be refilled. After record rains this winter, the DWP officials decided to use the reservoir as a dumping ground for excess water in the Los Angeles aqueduct system and have pledged to refill the reservoir to its “historic levels” moving forward with non-potable water.
Still in question, however, is if an ambitious plan presented last summer by Mia Lehrer+Associates (MLA) and the group Silver Lake Forward aimed at converting the 96-acre reservoir into a dynamic, multi-functional habitat and recreation space will move forward. The plan contains various proposals for utilizing the decommissioned reservoir in a more environmentally suitable manner and would contain, among many components, hatcheries for local and migrating bird populations.
There are a few holes in HKS's stadium design for the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, there are 20 million. By numbers HKS has gone big: The $2.66 billion, 70,000-seater-stadium will use more than 36,000 panels of which will have 20 million perforations punched into them.
Dallas-based HKS prescribed an aluminum and ETFE skin to create a triangular facade-cum-canopy over and around the playing field where the Los Angeles Rams are set to play. Triangular panels form the structure too. Made from aluminum, the metal portion of the skin responds to the variable SoCal climate without the need for a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, located in the center of the roof bathes the playing field in diffuse daylight. The desired effect, HKS said, is to create the impression of being outside.
A Design Assist project with facade fabricator Zahner Metals, HKS used their research and development arm, HKS LINE (the latter acronym stands for "Laboratory for INtensive Exploration") to aid the development of the stadium's skin. James Warton, a computational designer at HKS, spoke to The Architect's Newspaper, about the process used to conceive the facade.
Warton explained that the holes inside the in the triangular panels form an image on the facade, which can be seen properly when approaching the stadium from afar. Due to fabrication logistics and schedule, "only" 20 million perforations could be made with a required minimum distance of half-an-inch between each one. To get around this, though, eight different hole sizes were used to allow perforations to fall neatly in line with the panel's edge as well as enhance the facade's pattern.
To do this, a strategy using, Grasshopper, Rhino, C++ and Visual Studio was conceived which let HKS LINE determine perforation density and mapping. "Perforation sizes corresponding to grayscale values within the source image are also mapped onto the panel," said Warton. "We had to think of a system that would enable us to see every bit of information about every tile. This information is translated into text that can be used to make the panel."
The stadium, when completed in 2019, will be the world’s most expensive. James Warton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6+7. There he and other members of HKS will discuss the Los Angeles Rams stadium and its facade in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com
The tony neighborhood of Silver Lake, located on the periphery of Downtown Los Angeles, is the latest of many contested sites in a city grappling with dual perils of increasing urbanization and water scarcity.
In this case, Silver Lake’s namesake reservoir, a grandfather of the city’s pioneering urban water infrastructure system, is driving a wedge among neighbors and communities. The reservoir was decommissioned in 2006 to comply with new regulations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that banned open-air, potable water reservoirs. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), who owns the Silver Lake Reservoir, opted to build a new, underground water storage facility in the nearby San Fernando Valley. That project—the Headworks Reservoir, an 110-million gallon system located on a 43-acre site—robbed Silver Lake Reservoir not only of its infrastructural purpose but also of its water. Ten years later and four years into a punishing drought, the decommissioned reservoir sits empty, its soft bottom sprouting scraggly tufts of new growth.
Fierce neighborhood rivalries have erupted over what to do about the 45-foot deep hole, especially considering LADWP has not published a workable plan for the future of the complex. Should the reservoir be refilled? If so, with whose water? If not, what happens to the land?
Silver Lake Forward, an organization of designers and activists who live in the area, has sprouted up to advocate for a more equitable vision of the future. The group is circulating a petition to persuade the LADWP to refill the reservoir sustainably, with an eye toward the delicate ecological balance necessary to maintain a healthy water landscape in Los Angeles. The group’s conceptual plan, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates, aims for the gradual reintroduction of natural landscape ecologies by artificially raising the reservoir’s floor and converting the complex into a 31-acre park. The scheme features lookout points, boardwalks, and a series of small islands set aside for roosting water birds.
At a recent meeting discussing the project, Robert Soderstrom, cofounder and president of the organization, expressed hope for the group’s plan: “The people of this city will rise to the spaces we build,” he said.
2016 has been big for the Los Angeles River’s ongoing restoration process, as several of the multi-agency, intragovernmental urban water infrastructure projects surrounding its redevelopment have begun implementation.
The 51-mile-long concrete channel currently known as the L.A. River was created in 1938 as a flood control measure, and has been the site of steadily growing public interest for decades. Activist groups started gathering around the idea of river as a social justice cause for the city back in the 1980s, exploring its hidden potential for creating an urban oasis. River-focused landscape architects like Mia Lehrer and organizations like Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), founded in 1986 by poet, filmmaker, and writer Lewis MacAdams, have been at the forefront of river advocacy for years and are responsible for keeping the river in the public eye. But suddenly, the project has gained international notoriety both as the poster child for the post-World War II era’s ham-handed approach to urban hydrology, and, crucially, as an urban project the success of which could rewrite the future of America’s second-largest city.
In 2004, the City of Los Angeles founded a nonprofit group, L.A. River Revitalization Corporation, to wrangle the ever-growing constellation of river-related programs, and ultimately hired Frank Gehry and Associates, landscape firm OLIN, and Geosyntec Consultants to create a master plan. The team is currently in the midst of working through the initial study phases and has held a handful of community meetings across the region to discuss on-the-ground concerns and to gather ideas, in the process creating the L.A. River Index, an online resource for sharing information with the public. A preview of the L.A. River VR Experience, an initiative by media producers Camilla Andersson and Anders Hjemdahl at Pacific Virtual Reality and FoLAR, was released on October 8, timed with the organization’s 30th anniversary. The project is currently in the final stages of production and features a VR tour along the entire LA River.
Additionally, Gruen Associates, Mia Lehrer Associates, and Oyler Wu Collaborative were recently selected to design bike paths across the river’s length in the San Fernando Valley. Their project will link to the existing, popular path along the river running through the Frogtown neighborhood just north of Downtown Los Angeles. That particular area has been the site of highly partisan anti-gentrification battles, as the development community quickly began to take note of an impending windfall if the river becomes a desirable location. Housing projects have begun to sprout up around this neck of the river, which is surrounded by a mix of sleepy residential and industrial areas. A forthcoming project by Rios Clementi Hale Studios aims to bring 419 apartments, 39,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and 18 acres of open space to a river-adjacent site.
In Downtown Los Angeles, Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) is working toward beginning construction on their new vision for the Sixth Street Viaduct. The project will replace a structurally compromised bridge from 1932 currently under demolition. MMA aims to work in parallel with the bridge’s demolition, starting construction at the recently demolished eastern banks of the river and moving in the path of the old bridge. That project, a partnership with the City’s Bureau of Engineering, is being designed explicitly to facilitate community access to the river along both banks, and is due to be completed in 2019.
Whether it’s online, in virtual reality, or along the newly permeable banks of a beautified L.A. River, one thing is sure: L.A.’s River is changing very, very quickly.
“Landscape Architecture as Necessity” conference at USC aims to “counter the onslaught of politically-correct eco-speak”
The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, a nearly hundred-year-old institution nestled in the scrubby, sandy hills of the Cahuenga Pass north of Hollywood, has already lived a handful of lives over its relatively short existence. And as it approaches its centennial, the amphitheater is undergoing its latest upgrade: A $65.8 million makeover by Los Angeles–based Levin & Associates Architects and landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer + Associates due to be completed this September.
Originally designed in 1920 as a wooden amphitheater by arts and crafts architect Bernard Maybeck, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, then called the Pilgrimage Theatre, was the original home of author and Pittsburgh Paint heiress Christine Wetherill Stevenson’s religiously themed Pilgrimage Play. That structure burned down in a brush fire in 1929 and was replaced in 1931 by a board-formed, poured-in-place concrete hippodrome designed by architect William Lee Woollett, who also designed the Million Dollar Theatre and the Rialto Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.
The 1,200-seat structure was built to resemble the gates of Jerusalem, with crenelated parapets and corbel arches crudely carved into the crotch of what was then a remote hillside. This configuration left the complex subject to the cascades of rocks and runoff that come down the surrounding slopes during the region’s characteristic downpours. The theater, which continued holding performances of Stevenson’s play long after her death in 1922, came under the namesake of arts-supporting L.A. county supervisor John Anson Ford in 1976 and thereafter grew into a world-renowned community arts performance space.
The structure has been under the stewardship of Levin & Associates since 2014, undergoing what principal Brenda Levin described as “a near total reconstruction, not really a renovation.” Levin & Associates, responsible for the 1991 rehabilitation of the iconic Bradbury Building as well as the 2015 renovation to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, is tackling its latest legacy project with gusto. Here, the firm aims to divert flood waters from the theater’s underground artist support areas, expand the dressing room and staging areas, reconstruct the amphitheater stage, and construct a new sound-isolating wall designed to keep traffic noise out and music in. Mia Lehrer + Associates is responsible for stabilizing the lush, nearly postmodern backdrop of raw, palm-tree-lined scrub directly behind the stage through the addition of native and Mediterranean flora and a network of stone-clad retaining walls. The project adds a two-story structure, also of board-formed concrete, but lacks the original structure’s neo-Judaic flourishes that will hold lower-level concessions, a kitchen, and an office space. A state-of-the-art stage and lighting system is also being incorporated into the design.
Phase one of the renovation is complete, the theater reopened to the public on July 8th with the new buildings coming fully online in October. Plans for subsequent phases include a new three-level parking structure, 299-seat indoor theater, box office, museum-gallery, and hiking trail, which are due to be complete by 2020.