Spring Street Park

Client: City of Los Angeles

Official opening: 

June 17, 2013

 

Location:

426 S Spring Street, Los Angeles. In the Historic Old Bank District.

 

Square footage:

0.7 acre, L-shaped lot, bounded by Spring Street on the west, an alley on the east, and mid-block between 4th and 5th Street.  

 

Design Collaborators – a unique Public/Private Partnership:

Bureau of Engineering, Department of Public Works. City of Los Angeles 

Lehrer Architects(www.lehrerarchitects.com)

 

Lehrer Architects was selected to provide design leadership for the landscape architects of the City’s Bureau of Engineering in an experimental public/private partnership.  Lead by Michael Lehrer, the architectural firm delivered a bold design with an agile approach to urban public use development.  The City brought landscape expertise to the design and implementation for a low maintenance, durable valued urban park.  

 

Design Challenges:

Reclaiming two parking lots, emblematic of the 50-year degradation of the Historic Financial Center on Spring Street, and transforming them into the centerpiece of the new passionate, nascent, important mixed-use residential heart of old/new downtown Los Angeles.  

 

Seeking approval for a bold, transformative design, with disparate public, private, and governmental stakeholders to reach consensus for the benefit of the community.

 

Relevance:  

Spring Street Park embodies the idea of “thrivability” evident in the best placemaking and sustainable practices of minimum lawns, low maintenance, low water planting which captures and cleanses all site water before returning it to the storm drain.

 

Design Details: 

Located in a renewed and emerging historic context, Spring Street Park is designed to acknowledge and respond to the street, and the surrounding residential buildings with their new big residential windows and balconies to create a recreational destination for the full range of community.  The 64 bespoke Spring Street Bench Chairs,designed by Lehrer Architects, populate the Park when people aren’t there, and are used to create places for one, for two, for several, or for the hundreds to see art displayed and performed during the monthly Downtown Art Walk. The aluminum seat backs perform constant lightplay with sun’s reflection, creating shadows as light filters through perforated aluminum bamboo patterns.  

 

A bold diagonal (but almost true east-west) red concrete path cuts the longest path through the Park connecting a vibrant Spring Street to an in-the-future vibrant alley.

 

In this modernist plan, the elliptical great lawn is used succinctly as a classical urban room, on the sunniest part of the site.  It is surrounded by an ellipse of vined green-screen columns (many are lights).  The ellipse is largely surrounded by a newly planted bamboo hedge, which will grow up to 30’. 

 

A continuous narrow paved path designed for children on bicycles, adults with strollers and leisure pedestrians circumnavigates the Park.  A fountain, located at the street end of the great lawn, adds visual and acoustic interestenjoyed from the street and the Park.

 

The entrances to the Park are highlighted with aluminum scrims reiterating the bamboo ellipse.

-      Award of Excellence for “exceptional contribution” in the Landscape Architecture category, Los Angeles Business Council 2012

-      Honor Award Southern California Development Forum2013

-      Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award, Finalist 2013

2012, Planetizen, February, Bringing the Green to Downtown LA
2012, The Architect’s Newspaper, February, Greatest Hits