You'd better get used to it, Los Angeles is remaking itself from a one trick pony town where car is king into a multimodal city for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The latest improvement is Sunset Triangle Plaza, the city's first pedestrian plaza created by a new collaboration called Streets for People (S4P) that hopes to churn out dozens new pedestrian-oriented spaces a year across the city. The green-on-green polka dot plaza officially opened this month to crowds of gleeful pedestrians in the hip enclave of Silver Lake, northwest of Downtown LA. The year-long pilot project was designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, who said the design is open to interpretation. "The dots play off of D.O.T., the abbreviation for Department of Transportation, which is integral to the Streets for People program," said firm principal Frank Clementi in a statement. The 11,000 square foot plaza at Sunset Boulevard and Griffith Park connects the neighborhood to a small triangular pocket park previously stranded in a sea of streets and plays host to a twice-weekly farmers market. Moveable bistro tables and chairs, also in green, fill the plaza and large pots filled with drought resistant plants serve as bollards at its perimeter. Streets for People is an initiative of LA's Planning Commission and and the LA County Department of Public Health that hopes to reclaim underutilized street space in LA. "Using paint and planters allows us to recapture streets for people in months rather than decades, and for thousands—rather than millions—of dollars," said William Roschen, president of the LA Planning Commission, in a statement. "Now that we have the process, template, and cooperation of city departments and the community, we have several key variables in place to do upward of 40 projects a year."
Posts tagged with "Rios Clementi Hale":
Architecture isn't just for rich, young caucasians. In fact with explosions in senior, minority and student populations it's time to take a hard look at how these changes impact architecture. You can do that tonight at a panel called Designing By Demographics at LA's Brewery, sponsored by AN. The event, hosted by journalist and media expert Marissa Gluck, brings in experts from architecture, art and community redevelopment to discuss how demographics impact design, from senior housing, to childcare, and low income communities. Panelists include architect Patrick Tighe, designer of the Sierra Bonita affordable housing project in West Hollywood; Edgar Arceneaux. Executive Director of the Watts House Project, an arts and community redevelopment project in Watts; and a great lineup of architects, artists, and academics. No to mention The Brewery is one of our favorite locations in LA ( Telemachus Studio at the Brewery, 672 South Avenue 21 Unit 2).
A ceremonial groundbreaking for a $56 million downtown LA Civic Center park will be held on Thursday, July 15 at 9 a.m. Designed by Rios Clementi Hale, the 12-acre park is located between the LA County Music Center and City Hall and is set to be completed in 2012. Tomorrow’s festivities will include cooking demonstrations, yoga, music, art, storytelling and education on drought-tolerant plants--activities which demonstrate ways the park will be used by the community in two years. Children from the Para los Niños program have been invited to join the park activities and watch the half-hour program where city leaders will use a giant valve to turn off the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain. This symbolic gesture demonstrates how the park will be home to a wide range of drought-resistant trees and flowers and how it will alleviate one of the chief complaints people have about Los Angeles: It’s one big slab of concrete. The park will have a performance area, large lawn, movable chairs and a dog park. LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Grand Avenue Committee Chairman Nelson Rising will participate in the symbolic ceremony at 500 West Temple Street. The program starts at 9 a.m. but activities, including refreshments, will commence at 8:30 a.m.
There is a lot to like about Chicago's Quincy Court, an alley turned public space outside the Mies van der Rohe-designed Dirksen Federal Building that opened this summer. The General Services Administration (GSA) initiated the project to help beef up security around the federal campus, and they can certainly be praised for hiring a design firm to reimagine the space, in this case Rios Clementi Hale of Los Angeles, instead of just bolting a bunch of bollards into the ground. And while the design has a certain whimsy, which may appeal to some, we're having a hard time getting over the giant plastic palms. According to the press release the "sculptural grove" mediates between the monumentality of federal campus and the smaller scale of State Street. The seating and tables are nicely detailed and the project's Pop sensibility is sure to change the way people think about this alley way. But in this age of ecological crisis, and in a city that has made sustainability one of its hallmarks and has worked hard to green the Loop, the plastic palms seem like the wrong message for the GSA to send. Real deciduous trees, after all, provide shade in the hot summer and loose their leaves in the fall when sun is welcome. Ken Smith's artificial rooftop garden at MoMA, which boasts fake rocks, plastic plants, and few environmental benefits, seems like a similar missed opportunity, a one liner that provides intriguing views for neighbors but does little to improve the hardscape environment of midtown Manhattan. Are we being too rigid in our thinking? Should we loosen up and go shopping for some silk flowers?
Curbed LA reports that designs for the 12-acre, Rios Clementi Hale-designed downtown Civic Park, connecting City Hall with the LA Music Center, have been updated (drawing above). The new designs, they find, will overhaul and lengthen the park's fountain, remove a series of trellises, enlarge the park's community terrace, and remove the "viewing bridge" at the foot of City Hall. The park (whose first phase will cost $56 million) also replaces curving geometries with longer, straighter thoroughfares. The plan is still set to go ahead despite the fact that the adjacent Grand Avenue Project is on hold. Despite liking certain elements, like a clearer set of "grand stairs," the LA Times' Christopher Hawthorne said the plan was too "conceptually weak to stand on its own." He added, "there is nothing evident in the latest version -- no urban gesture, no aesthetic spark -- that holds the proposal together as a compelling whole, or that might inspire the public or potential funders to embrace it with genuine enthusiasm." We're just happy to have another park downtown. After all, what major city doesn't have a great downtown green space?