The Los Angeles State Historic Park, a 32-acre park with three interpretive centers devoted to ecology, cultural heritage, and media arts totaling 52,000 sf. The project is a catalyst for connection and change in what is both the heart of historic Los Angeles and one of the most rapidly changing areas in the Los Angeles Basin. The park’s pathways and structures bridge in literal terms, reconnecting the Park with the adjacent communities, as well as providing a visible language of connection linking culture and gathering spaces into the Park.
INTERPRETING AND INTERWEAVING HISTORY
As their forms lift, they connect the communities to the north of the park, bridging adjacent streets and the path of a light rail line. They also arc over the Park’s center, providing new vantage points for understanding how the Park and the city are intertwined. Their long, attenuated massing provides shade and directs movement across the site.
These knowledge centers provide specific opportunities for the community and visitors to come together to learn the history of the Park, the city, and also learn from one another. Connected by an interpretive time line along the Park’s north edge, they house exhibits and programs that orient visitors to the environmental, cultural, and technological histories of Los Angeles. These centers look outward as much as they look inward, capturing specific aspects of the Park and surrounding communities’ past, present and future as a set of interpretive compass points.
As each of the structures lift, they not only multiply the field of activities that can take place across the Park, they also create specific microclimates of shade and cool mist during Los Angeles’s hottest days. Shade structures trace the route of the historical Zanja Madre which provided water to the Los Angeles Pueblo. A raised Café provides a more informal, shaded seating area for gatherings beneath; water cascading from the bridge that crosses the Park provides a cool environment for relaxation, a noise buffer from traffic on nearby Spring Street, and an opportunity for play. Each of the bridge structures and architectural elements within the project are specifically designed with a belief in the deep integration of systems, technology and form which not only allows them to reflect the Park’s larger environmental goals, but to be totally self-sufficient in terms of energy use.
LOCATION / Los Angeles, California
TYPE / 32-acre Public Park with Interpretive Centers
SIZE / 52,000sf / 32 acres
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $66 million
AWARDS / First Prize, International Competition