Surrounded on all sides by "business blocks of architectural beauty and metropolitan dimensions," the intersecting planes of Pershing Square in Los Angeles provide a modernist retreat for many Angelinos in the downtown area. While to some, the square's large stucco tower and aqueduct-like water feature serve as a cultural landmark, the park has drawn negative press due to its lack of green space and abundance of drug-related activity. John Moody purposefully concentrates on the perception, memory, and identity of the space in his documentary Redemption Square—winner of the Best Urban Design Film 2017 at the New Urbanism Film Festival. Using the voice of strangers, residents and those who used to call it home, Moody guides you from the park’s formation in 1866 to its impending renewal: a “radically flat” redesign courtesy of Agence Ter and Gruen Associates.
Gruen Associates: The Latest Architecture and News
LA's Pershing Square Is Preparing for a Redesign—And Some Worry They Are Losing a Valuable Civic Space
OMA New York has released initial details of its design for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, a new addition to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, California. The OMA scheme, currently seeking planning approval, seeks to “forge new connections within the existing campus and create a new urban presence to engage Los Angeles.”
Having won a competition for the pavilion's design in 2015, the OMA scheme represents the firm’s first commission from a religious institution and their first cultural building in California. Designed in collaboration with Gruen Associates, the Audrey Irmas Pavilion will form the newest addition to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. The scheme will serve as a multi-purpose gathering space in what Rabbi Steve Leder regards as “the city’s most diverse neighborhood.”
The City of Los Angeles has revealed preliminary designs for seven different downtown segments of the Los Angeles River revitalization master plan, envisioned by Gruen Associates, WSP, CH2M, Chee Salette, Mia Lehrer + Associates, AECOM, and Tetra Tech. The project, known as the LA River Downtown Design Dialogue, asked designers to create potential schemes for development of the Downtown Corridor that “focus on interventions to improve connectivity and access to the river” and “imagine how to achieve function while embracing bold, world-class design,” while integrating in river adjacent projects currently in development, such as BIG’s 670 Mesquite.
At its best, architecture has the power to confront the world’s most urgent social and environmental issues. The Los Angeles River sits at the center of many of these issues, thanks to the long-overdue plans to convert it from a concrete canal back into a social space and an ecological corridor; and thanks to its position as a symbol of the drought in California. In this serene video by filmmaker Chang Kim, the full length of the river is put on display, exploring a resource that is the topic of much debate in the Los Angeles area.
The City of Los Angeles has selected a team led by Gruen Associates to design a 12-mile section of the Los Angeles River Greenway as a part of Frank Gehry’s comprehensive master plan. The design team will also include architects Oyler Wu and landscape firm Mia Lehrer + Associates, who recently won a competition for a new park at First and Broadway in downtown LA. Upon its completion, the greenway will allow residents to walk and bike nearly 30 miles between the neighborhoods of Canoga Park and Elysian Valley.
Update: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved approved the proposed masterplan by Grimshaw and Gruen; the scheme will now go ahead, subject to the availability of funding. The below article is from 22 September 2014.
The New York office of Grimshaw and LA based Gruen Associates were officially awarded the Los Angeles Union Station master plan in July of 2012 after six initial proposals for the project. Now the Metro Board has begun to finalize plans and move towards implementation, with their Planning Committee scheduled to discuss the proposals in early November. Read on to learn more about how the plan has developed over the past two years and the next steps towards its implementation.
Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design and Gruen Associates have shared with us their second place proposal for the highly anticipated design-build competition for the new United States courthouse in Los Angeles, California. Envisioned as an icon within the city skyline, the triangular monolith provides a sustainable, 21st century courthouse that embodies the democratic qualities of dignity, stature, transparency, openness and accessibility.
Located at a pivotal node connecting the Los Angeles Civic Center, the Broadway Historic District and Bunker Hill, the 550,000 square foot courthouse is surrounded by a lush civic space that plays an important role in the existing cityscape.
Read the architect’s description after the break…
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has selected L.A.’s Gruen Associates and London’s Grimshaw Architects to design the new master plan for Union Station in Los Angeles. The pair was awarded with the commission over some of the biggest names in the profession, such as Norman Foster and Renzo Piano (view the other five fantastical proposals here). They will transform the historic 1939 station and its surrounding 40 acres into a world-class, 21st century transportation hub that will host the future high-speed rail system that plans to connect L.A. and San Francisco.
The master planning process could take as little as 24 months. No surprise, considering both Gruen and Grimshaw have a great amount of experience with transit related projects. Gruen recently worked with Metro on the first phase of the Expo Line, while Grimshaw has extensive resume in Europe and is involved with the forthcoming Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan, which is planned for completion in 2014.
Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition.
In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub.
Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.