Los Angeles State Historic Park (Cornfield)
Los Angeles, 2006
In collaboration with MLA, Lehrer Architects created an architecture of ORIENTATION, MEMORY, HONOR, and DELIGHT. Three iconic buildings will reconnect us to the city through time and place: The Entry Pavilion, Solano Bridge, and the Wheel.
The Entry Pavilion: Welcoming visitors to the park, the Entry Pavilion serves as a point of orientation. Ghosting the space of the original River Station and Hotel, it revisits their nobler purposes and is a formal place of arrival, a pass-through, and a destination. It is the Park manifold.
Approaching from the southwest, the pavilion is a peristyle, a gazebo, and a ramped vessel. It is a place of local and cultural arrival. Its many ramps, like those to a ship, welcome the visitor to the vista terrace and its Red Story Promontories. Approaching along Spring Street, long gracious ramps guide one through the terrace. The canopy over the terrace will house solar photovoltaic panels (silicon wafers set in clear glass) that, along with the Solano Bridge shade structure, will provide enough energy to power many of the Park’s fountains and 400 light fixtures (116 kilowatts or 640 kilo watts over 6 hours). Gathering sunlight by day, at night the Entry Pavilion becomes a living, layered screen of projected images both real and fantastic, changing with events, and evolving with time.
The Solano Bridge and Promontory: Recalling the historical wood trestle bridges which once linked Broadway to the site, the Solano Bridge seamlessly reconnects Solano Canyon and Elysian Park to the site for the first time in many generations. It dramatically marks the presence of Solano Canyon and the community which it harbors in the Park. By honoring the legacy of the past and providing memorable places to gather and create the stories of the present, the Red Story Promontories weave Solano Canyon and the Park into each other’s future.
The Wheel: Located in the place once occupied by the historic train RoundHouse, this telescopic eye into time and place is the orienting compass and geographic guide to the communities and places of Los Angeles and beyond. Lower level Story Rings are shaded places of gathering, while an outdoor theater in the round is crowned with a cylindrical projection scrim. Red blades mark the North/South axis and remind us of the importance of Pueblo Los Angeles’s original orientation. The Wheel also evokes a memory of the water wheel which once brought water and life from the Los Angeles River through the Zanja to the city.
Moving up the gentle spiralling ramp, one arrives at the Wheel of the City where we come to understand our relationship to Los Angeles in place and time. Visitors look through screens and history scopes to see images of the site as it was, as it will be, or to zoom to far-off distant places. With a 300 ft circumference, there is space for a hundred different views.