Grand Intervention: Civic Link

Grand Avenue Intervention:
Submission Gallery

Civic Link 

Submitted by Michelle Landis & Maria Landoni de Rose

The vision we had for the site was grounded in history. This area of the city was the original place of settlement for natives. Over time, other cultures settled throughout modern-day Los Angeles, but always having that original place as a synergistic and uniting center.

The reason for this original location was due to the proximity to the river. The river was fundamental to the life of many generations of Angelenos. However, during the last century, the political, economic and social interests shifted, and the river was tamed and set into a concrete channel. It also lost much of its glory and beauty. Eventually, the city disjointedly expanded to create the metropolis that we now have.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in social interest to bring the river back to life, and to make people aware of its enormous cultural, aesthetic and ecological value. The river, which transects the entire city, could act as a central, connecting spine.

With the Civic Link we are looking to make the first step towards the creation of a physical connection between the civic heart of the city to its original life source; and through it, we have a greater goal of regenerating the united, central, civic spirit of downtown Los Angeles. We want to connect the people, connect the spaces and connect the city with the natural environment.

The Civic Center Vision: Along 1st  Street

? Some of the key features on the linking-portion (1st Street) of the project:
? Bike path
? Streetscape with sycamores
? New Metro station
? Redevelopment of buildings
? Epicenters
? Art school, community center and daycare facility
? Stormwater management
? Constructed wetlands
? Outdoor spaces for diverse uses

The Bike Path

? Connects to existing bike paths along the L.A. River, and from the river takes bikers on a loop around the Civic Park Bike Path.
? Takes stormwater to vegetated swales along 1st Street and to the constructed wetlands.

Stormwater Treatment

? Stormwater would be collected within the park into vegetated swales.
? Any excess would be release into the bike path that would take it down the street, through vegetated swales.
? At the end, and before the water re-enters the L.A. River, the water would be cleaned out even further through a series of constructed wetlands.

Constructed Wetlands

? Creative and fun use of materials traditionally found in riparian environments to make play structures and give this space a sense of place (awesome, big sycamores, proximity to the historical river).
? Various purposes: recreation, education, environmental.


? At main street intersections, there would be places where the perception and senses are highly stimulated.
? There could be a number of options to achieve this idea; one of them is to change the density of the city-grid from highly dense to a release in a open area. It could be also achieved with colors, materials or plants.
? The bridge on 1st Street is an epicenter, because the spatial perception changes as one crosses it. There is a significant difference between being on the bridge and on the street.

Epicenter on Grand & First

? The entire corner in epicenters is treated as a singular space.
? The street is raised to meet the sidewalks.
? The paving bleeds into the sidewall.
? The paving scores takes stormwater to 1st Street so it enters a cleaning system.
? There are cut stone elements at the corners to protect people from vehicles and for seating.

Corridor of the Sycamores

? 1st Street is planted with sycamores from the 110 Freeway all the way to the bridge on 1st Street
? Streetscape with Sycamores: Creation of a thick edge that functions as a space, path and filter for noise, smog and particles.
? This edge is very permeable for pedestrians, and for creating visual connections from the street to interior open spaces.
? The selection of plant material was inspired by riparian environments.
Strip Park

? This park would be located along 1st Street.
? It would consist of a number of long and narrow (strip) surfaces that can be used for many activities by the community.
? The idea is to create a highly inclusive space where there is a place for people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds, kids and adults, men and women.
? The park will have amenities that would make the space comfortable, like a café, diverse seating, tables and chairs, water fountains, sun and shade areas, art pieces to create visual interest.
? One of the surfaces created with DG could be transformed as seasons change ? with sand during the summer to recreate a beach and to play beach volley; with a field of poppies during the spring; during the fall and winter, bocce courts could be created.
? Other activities that would take place of this space are: community gatherings, sports, games, outdoor art exhibits, street markets, night events, festivals and celebrations, people-watching.

Art School

? With the large amount of development taking place in downtown a school will become necessary.
? We propose an art magnet school to take advantage of the resources existing in the area (the school would be located within the art district).
? To enter the school people go through the strip park that would also be used by the school to exhibit the work of students and teachers.
? The school is accessible since inside of this large gabion building there would also be a community center and a daycare facility. The community would come to this building and park to look after each other.
? To take advantage of limited space and to create better physical conditions within the building, the school would have a soccer field on the terrace.
? This field is also accessible to members of the community who can use it during weekends or when students are not playing.
? Across the cafeteria (glass portion of the building), the community center would have its terraced gardens.

Stormwater Treatment

? Stormwater falling on the school?s roof or in the adjacent parking structure would be collected.
? Water would be carried to the top of a gabion wall where it would be released through the wall making nice sounds as it comes down.
? The first flush would fell into a vegetated swale where it would be treated.
? Water would flow through a stone strip (that also crosses the street to embrace the entire sidewalk).
? As water accumulates next to the sidewalk it indexes how much water fell; it educates people about how much valuable water simply runs off during storms.
? This water would be directed to the wetlands to be cleaned, infiltrated or placed back into the river.

Open Space Use

? In design terms, the link to the river would be achieved by a series of open spaces and streetscape that would function independently (day-to-day use), but also in conjunction during special celebrations and festivals.

Small Pocket Parks

? Along 1st Street there are a number of smaller parks that would make the street life richer because of the availability of diverse spaces and their relation to the street.
? They are like entry foyers for buildings.
? These are spaces where people can meet or take breaks.

Other Improvements

? New Metro Station: Adjacent to the historical bridge on 1st Street there is a plan to locate a Metro station. This would be a huge boost for the area in economic and development terms. This design works around and benefits from this possible transportation addition.
? Redevelopment: This project proposes to create new development of different types (residential, commercial and multi-use) all along 1st street.

Program Along the Civic Link

? A program was developed along 1st Street and in the Park.
? Events would be happening along different areas of the Civic Link, so the pedestrian circulation and investigation of options would help to generate the connection as well.

Permeable Park Edge

The park and street treatment provide an attractive and seasonal border for the entire project. In selected areas BMP infiltration swales and wet-ponds function to improve water quality and add aesthetic character through colorful plantings and river rock interest.

Grand Lawn

This area provides both a flexible open space for park events and allows for a break from the abundance of urban hardscape in the downtown area. In addition it enhances seasonality through deciduous trees and the seeding of poppies in the spring.

Peace Memorial

This space provides a window to a brighter future with its emphasis on peace. This is especially important because we are at the start of a new millennium, with all the hope a new era can bring. The idea of seasonality is reflected in the plant material to further emphasize the confirmation that we are only inhabitants of this place for a short time, and the world will continue, hopefully improved, by our actions.

Tribal Tree Park

The tribal tree, a 60 foot high sycamore, of the Tongva village of Yangna once stood adjacent to the civic center site. Its function was to provide a place to settle conflicts, a place for trade and a place for the highest council to convene. Named "El Aliso" by the Spanish, the tree was dead by the late 1800s. This area serves to reconnect Angelenos to the lost history of this magnificent tree.

Buildings and Amenities

The selected buildings are suggested to add life and activity to the civic park. In addition these provide the concept of equitability. For example a patron may be able to have a lunch at one of the restaurants or stop to buy a deli sandwich at the store for a picnic in the park with their child.

? Fire station
? Multi-use office space
? Community center with rooftop garden
? Law library
? Chain grocery store
? Kiosks with seasonal wares