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Santa Monica On a Starchitect-Designed Public Project Spree

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[Image via Santa Monica Civic Center Public Parks]

In June, Santa Monica approved $25 million for the construction of two parks: Palisades Garden Walk between Main Street and Ocean Avenue north of Olympic, and a Town Square in front of City Hall. The city put out a request for qualifications from architects, landscape architects, and urban designers in October, and the Architect's Newspaper reports they've revealed their short list. The six finalists are Peter Walker and Partners, Gehry Partners, James Corner Field Operations, Studio Works, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, and SWA Group. Candidates will interview with a selection panel in January, and a winner will be picked soon after. They'll develop a final plan with community input, and construction is scheduled to start in August 2011. The project includes work on the surrounding streetscapes, plus Palisades Garden Walk's six acres and Town Square's one acre. A press release for the city calls the Garden Walk "the front lawn" for developer Related's delayed Village project.

It looks like Santa Monica is on a starchitect bender. Big Blue Bus is updating its stops and they've hired Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects to design new amenities and shelters. The designs for what they're calling "Big Blue Dots" will come out in January, and according to Big Blue Bus they'll "have great flexibility, offer maximum visibility and information to transit riders, while providing shade throughout the day." A reader who wrote in about the stops was also excited about the service's new maps, which he called "very reminiscent of the London tube map."

· Beach Parking [Architect's Newspaper]
· Bus Shelter and Bus Stop Redesign Project [Big Blue Bus]