Submitted by Hera Hamalian, Katie Kreiser, Erin Patterson & John Wiersma, Cal Poly Pomona Architecture
Grand Avenue Park should first and foremost be a park. However the location of the park does not allow it to be a traditional park and gives opportunity to design a space that caters more to the park?s downtown surroundings. Park users are ones that are used to the hustle of downtown and need a space complementing and completing the city. With this said, it is critical to bring excitement and life to the space. We plan to achieve this through three major points: circulation, transportation and reanimation.
Circulation is key to combining all the new elements of the park, allowing visitors to experience the variety of activities taking place in the park. Currently the park is severed by major cross-streets, which we are proposing to span with a network of pedestrian bridges ? allowing the park to directly connect City Hall to the Music Center.
Transformation is key to ridding the park of unwanted elements such as lack of visual contact with other people, as well as the lack of noise and lighting in the park giving the user a sense of vulnerability. A major aspect of this transformation will be to redesign the facades of the surrounding buildings by adding circulation and visual interest to those elevations. The current park is very unwelcoming, most of the day much of the light is blocked by the buildings. Adding lighting elements to the building facades will not only increase security, but also illuminate the park at night allowing evening activities. Exposing the parking structures and the subway that run under the park will complete the transformation. Removing sections of the top layer will bring light to the spaces below ground, making arrival to the space more welcoming.
Reanimation involves adding small retail, dining and entertainment venues throughout the park. Our research showed that the majority of downtown residents are young and affluent with a high demand for restaurants and nighttime entertainment. A large amphitheater near the Music Center will hold free outdoor concerts, and will connect with activities produced by the Music Center, Disney Hall and Dorothy Chandler. Dining venues will serve the demographically diverse customer base both at night and during the day. Retail stores will cater to both the surrounding office buildings and entertainment, drawing in new patrons. These small retail buildings will blur the lines between park, an entertainment venue and a shopping environment. Landscape will be incorporated into these small buildings, so that park-goers will feel like they are in a park, but one that is especially urban.