Design team led by Mia Lehrer picked for new downtown L.A. park

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Mia Lehrer's winning design for the First and Broadway Park in downtown L.A.
Mia Lehrer's winning design for the First and Broadway Park in downtown L.A.

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Mia Lehrer's winning design for the First and Broadway Park in downtown L.A.
Mia Lehrer’s winning design for the First and Broadway Park in downtown L.A.

The park planned for the corner of 1st Street and Broadway, in the heart of the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, has a design team. And a bigger budget.

A group led by landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer & Associates has won a design competition for the 2-acre park, on the site of a former state office building adjacent to Grand Park at the foot of City Hall, city officials announced Thursday. They also upped the total budget for the park including site work and a contingency fund to $28 million. Most of that total will come from the city’s so-called Quimby funds, drawn from from real-estate development fees.

Lehrer’s office is collaborating on the park with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, co-founded by architect Rem Koolhaas, and the design firm IDEO, along with a long list of other consultants. The winning proposal, which beat out finalists Eric Owen Moss, AECOM and the firm Brooks + Scarpa, calls for a canopy of oak and sycamore trees along its 1st Street and Spring Street edges, facing the Los Angeles Times and City Hall, with an open paved plaza at its center. A walkway would slice through the park on an axis connecting City Hall with a new federal courthouse designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and under construction along 1st Street between Broadway and Hill Street.

A two-story restaurant building would anchor the northern corner of the park, where it meets a section of Grand Park along Broadway. The building would include a rooftop vegetable garden, and part of its lower floor would be scooped out to make way for wood-lined bleachers shaded by the top floor cantilevering out above. Revenue from the upscale restaurant would help fund maintenance and programming at the park.

Officials working on the project have made clear that the winning proposal isn’t final and that the city has focused on choosing a team more than a fixed design. The Lehrer team’s entry won points for its emphasis on shade, its balance of green space and hardscape and the ways in which the park would capture and treat storm water. […]

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