Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook / Safdie Rabines Architects

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook / Safdie Rabines Architects

© Undine Prohl© Undine Prohl© Undine Prohl© Undine Prohl+ 8

  • Architects: Safdie Rabines Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  10000
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2009
  • Photographs Photographs:  Undine Prohl

Text description provided by the architects. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is a 57-acre urban state park located 500 feet above the city in the heart of Los Angeles. The park includes a new 10,000 square foot visitor center, observation deck and viewing areas, hiking trails, picnic areas and restored natural landscape. The turbulent history of the Baldwin Hills site, from oil wells to plans for massive residential development, stripped this mountain of most of its natural past. A critical part of the design process was to define the period that represented the site in its natural state and to create a suitable approach to the restoration of the site. It was also important to understand the history of land development in Los Angeles in order to better understand the symbolic value of this verdant mountain in the midst of a dense city.

© Undine Prohl
© Undine Prohl

The principal goal of the Master Plan has been to preserve and enhance the unique qualities of this expansive site through the restoration of its natural ecosystems, creating a harmonious balance between community recreational activities and the natural systems within the site. The interpretive message of the Visitor Center is to foster environmental awareness by understanding the impact development has had on our land.

© Undine Prohl
© Undine Prohl

The Visitor center is tucked unobtrusively into a hollow near the summit of the park, its curving forms emulating the sculptural landforms of the site. Large polished concrete walls retain the hillside while floor to ceiling windows open the visitor center towards the landscape and expansive views of the city beyond. The center is comprised of three buildings; the first houses the exhibit space, a small theater, and meeting rooms; the second contains support spaces, bathrooms and a catering kitchen, and the third is an outdoor pavilion for special events that spills out onto an outdoor amphitheater formed from recycled concrete surrounded by landscape exhibits of native plants.

© Undine Prohl
© Undine Prohl

A gently climbing walkway leads visitors from the parking lot towards the Visitor Center and through the interior and exterior exhibit spaces. The path then leads past the outdoor amphitheater and through a series of engineered mounds at the top of the hill towards the overlook. The mounds have been formed to suspend the views of downtown Los Angeles until arrival at the overlook where they are dramatically revealed.

© Undine Prohl
© Undine Prohl

Project gallery

See allShow less

Project location

Address:Los Angeles, CA, USA

Click to open map
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook / Safdie Rabines Architects" 20 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/113486/baldwin-hills-scenic-overlook-safdie-rabines-architects> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Read comments
© Undine Prohl

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook / Safdie Rabines Architects

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.