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Downtown's Wilshire Overpass: A Few Ideas

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Last month, seven teams of students at the College of Architecture & Urban Studies at Virginia Tech proposed designs for the Wilshire Blvd overpass at the 110 Freeway and Wilshire Boulevard as part of a design workshop. Right now, there is pedestrian access on the overpass, but many of these designs--all fictitious, of course--would "create more pedestrian access and awareness from the street level," Halil Dolan, principal at Paravant, a Los Angeles-based design firm, who produced the workshops, tells Curbed. "The idea was to look at how we move through the city." Years ago, local firm architecture firm Morphosis proposed erecting a pedestrian bridge over the 101 freeway--a plan that never happened. But last winter there was chatter on Angelenic that this stretch was being considered for renovations. How about a little wacky?

The following boards address the notion of “crossing into a green
future” as first an awareness of the lifestyle lived in a city such as
Los Angeles, and then the need for a change to that lifestyle. The thoughts presented here about sustainability and environmental awareness are much more than the recent marketing trend which utilizes a “feel good” strategy of encouraging consumers to purchase their way towards saving the planet.

The designs put forward for the Information and Exhibition Center for a Sustainable and Environmentally Conscious Future of Los Angeles, engage motorists, pedestrians, users of the Center, viewers from neighboring buildings, and the city as a whole.

Pedestrians and users are encouraged to slow down, live in the moment, to pause and experience the spaces around them. The designs offer opportunities to experience the environment in unique ways. They entice users to walk a path or climb gentle slope rewarding them with new experiences. A uniquely dynamic relationship exists between the bridge and passing motorists.

Whether stuck in traffic or cruising down the interstate, motorists are
engaged as voyeurs of the proposed buildings, more or less intimately
depending on their speed and frame of mind. Even beyond the scale
of the pedestrian or motorist, the designs attempt to reach further into
the city in a way which becomes the physical manifestation of the new
lifestyle of Los Angeles.