Posts tagged with "Silver Lake Reservoir":

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L.A. will refill Silver Lake’s 96-acre reservoir

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.

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What will Angelenos do with a decommissioned, 45-foot-deep reservoir?

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.

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An Inland Beach for Los Angeles’ Silver Lake Neighborhood?

[beforeafter]silver-lake-reservoir-beach-01silver-lake-reservoir-beach-02[/beforeafter] Thanks to new EPA regulations, Silver Lake is saying goodbye to it reservoir. But resident Catherine Geanuracos hopes the community will soon be saying hello to something new: a body of water repurposed for recreation, complete with lap lanes, an open swim area, and a miniature beach. As the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) prepares to drain Silver Lake Reservoir and the adjoining Ivanhoe Reservoir and reroute the city’s drinking water supply through underground pipes, Geanuracos’s organization, Swim Silver Lake, is urging city officials to transform the area into a destination for serious swimmers and casual beach-goers alike. Geanuracos says that she, like many Silver Lake residents, has often wondered how the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex might be put to public use. “Every time I run [around it], I’m like, ‘why can’t I go swimming in it?’” she said. “It’s an amazing space that hardly anyone has access to.” This fall, when Geanuracos first heard about plans to drain the reservoir, she realized the time for action was here. She launched Swim Silver Lake less than a month ago, at her own birthday party. Over 700 people have signed up online to support the project. Swim Silver Lake will be presenting their proposal to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council in February. In the meantime, Geanuracos is scheduling meetings with key government players, including the LADWP, the Los Angeles City Council, and the mayor’s office. She recognizes that the novelty of her idea poses a particular challenge. “It’s not like there’s a precedent for how you do this, because we haven’t had this opportunity before,” she said. Geanuracos is also looking for assistance from the local design community. “I’m not a planner, not an expert, but hopefully we’ll find some folks [with the right skills],” she said. “It could be an amazing project for a student team or a young firm.”
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Celebrate Earth Day With a “Neutra Run-Walk” in Silver Lake

Architecture lovers, time to get motivated. This Earth Day (April 22) you can celebrate Richard Neutra’s 120th birthday by participating in the Neutra Run-Walk for Health, a 4k or 8k jaunt around LA's Silver Lake Reservoir. “Neutra always stood for health, so it made sense to host this event,” said Dion Neutra, son of the famous architect. Neutra says he hopes the walk will become an annual event for the Neutra Institute. The walking path will start at the Silver Lake Meadow in front of the VDL Research House II, at 2300 Silver Lake Blvd., and continue counter clockwise around the reservoir. The walk is open to everyone, whether they plan to finish the race in record time or take a leisurely stroll. “We want to remind people what it’s all about. Just get out and get around, no matter how slowly,” said Neutra. Each participant gets a free commemorative pin and entry to the awards ceremony. Though prizes still haven’t been finalized, Neutra said they might give a signed copy of Neutra's Survival Through Design  to the winner. Proceeds go toward the preservation of the VDL Research House II and other efforts by the institute. Register on the Neutra Institute webpage.
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Silver Lake′s Grassy Nirvana Finally Opens

After years of waiting, as of this past weekend Silver Lake residents can finally enjoy the "Meadow," a 6-acre swath of grassy land adjacent to the Silver Lake Reservoir and west of Silver Lake Boulevard that's been fought over and delayed for several years. It was determined that the Meadow could  be opened to the public because the Reservoir itself will soon be replaced as a drinking water source by underground storage tanks north of Griffith Park (plus restless neighbors fearing outsider encroachment and the destruction of local habitats finally relented). We finally had a spare second to check it out today, and were very impressed. The grass is lush and healthy, the views are spectacular, and the crowd is under control (at least on a weekday). The $1 million project was paid for by state and city funds. Along with the adjacent new walking path, it's part of the Silver Lake Master Plan, developed in 2000 by landscape architects Mia Lehrer + Associates. The only caveats: Look both ways when crossing the crazy street toward the park. And no sports and no dogs allowed. This is a lazy man's paradise.