Agence Ter Selected to Redesign LA's Pershing Square with Proposal for "Radical Flatness"

Agence Ter Selected to Redesign LA's Pershing Square with Proposal for "Radical Flatness"

Agence Ter and Team have been announced as the winners of a proposal to redesign the oldest park in Los Angeles, Pershing Square, with a call for “radical flatness.” Opened in 1866, with subsequent name changes and redesigns, the winning proposal will replace the most recent iteration by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and landscape architect Laurie Olin, which opened in 1994. Pershing Square is a five-acre park bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east, and Olive Street to the west, in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The path to redevelopment began in September 2015, when the Los Angeles City Council adopted the plans of councilmember José Huizar, to create a public-private partnership and work with Pershing Square Renew, a non-profit partner, which came out of a task force created by Huizar in 2013.

Courtesy of Agence Ter and Team

Beginning with 10 semifinalists selected last October and four finalists in December, Agence Ter’s proposal won the competition yesterday, garnering the highest scores from the 1,355 members of the public who weighed in on the four finalists and a unanimous selection by the Pershing Square Renew jury. The redevelopment has been led by Councilmember Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks, MacFarlane Partners (provider of start-up funding for Pershing Square Renew), and other leaders, including Gensler and the law offices of Loeb and Loeb.

Courtesy of Agence Ter and Team

Agence Ter's proposal would eliminate the elevated condition of the current park, caused by the inclusion of a garage beneath the square. By bringing the park back to ground level, a “radical flatness” would reestablish views across the park and allow the environment to spill out along the square’s borders and surrounding streets. Some of the new park’s main features are a reflecting pool along the west side, mirroring the stately Biltmore Hotel, and a “smart canopy” designed by artist Leo Villareal, providing shade during the day and light at night. Addressing issues of sustainability and efficiency, the park will use water cycling and alternative energy systems. The park seeks to establish a balance between open and shaded conditions, a need for flexible and programmable space, and to create a welcoming, ecologically diverse environment.

Courtesy of Agence Ter and Team

“We are extremely excited and ready to contribute to the rebirth of Downtown Los Angeles through the renewing of Pershing Square,” said Henri Bava, founder and director of Agence Ter. “By radically flattening the lifted surface, it will reach out to the neighborhood again, establishing a real dialogue with the city. It will become a green, sustainable and active destination for the metropolis and will be timeless and elegant through its welcoming simplicity.”

Courtesy of Agence Ter and Team

Although based in Paris, Agence Ter has assembled a “Team” of lauded partners, many of which are based in Los Angeles:

  • SALT Landscape Architects
  • Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning
  • Kelly Shannon - RUA, Landscape Urbanism
  • Community Arts Resources LA, Urban Programming
  • Rachel Allen Architecture
  • Pentagram, Branding
  • Still Room, Wayfinding and Graphic Design
  • Leo Villareal, Light Artist
  • Fehr & Peers, Transportation Consultants
  • KPFF, Structural / Civil Engineers
  • M-E Engineering, Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing Engineers
  • Lighting Design Alliance, Architectural Lighting Design

The Pershing Square Renew Jury:

  • Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair), SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles
  • Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA
  • Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident
  • Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group
  • Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ
  • Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio
  • Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks,
  • Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design

For more about Agence Ter’s proposal or the redevelopment process, visit the Pershing Square Renew website here.

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About this author
Cite: Vladimir Gintoff. "Agence Ter Selected to Redesign LA's Pershing Square with Proposal for "Radical Flatness"" 13 May 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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