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Architects Dreaming: Bergamot Station Sandwich Proposed

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Even though Expo Line authorities have publicly shot down suggestions that a maintenance yard could be housed at Bergamot Station as part of Phase II (which'll go from Culver City to Santa Monica), the line is going to need to take land that lies directly south of the arts and cultural facility. (According to Monica Born, Expo Line project director for Phase II, authorities would have to get an easement from the city or buy the land.) Which brings us to architect Peter Zellner of ZELLNERPLUS Design Planning Research. Yes, an architect has thrown his hat into the Bergamot-Expo Line hullaboo. While Zellner acknowledges, that yes, the arts area isn't being threatened by a possible maintenance facility, he notes in an email to Curbed that "the future of Bergamot as a cultural facility needs to be better discussed in light of the arrival of the Expo line." Among other things, his project proposes a "sandwich" that'd consist of a park, light rail station, automated parking, and more. There's even affordable housing thrown in the mix. Let's go to his proposal, which is after the jump. Better to just let Peter explain.

But first: Red arrow shows the Bergamot Station land needed by the Expo line:

And Zellner's proposal:

Los Angeles architect and coordinator of SCI-Arc’s SCIFI (Future Initiatives) program Peter Zellner offers up an urban proposal for Bergamot Station that won’t eliminate the current public and private art-based uses from the site in order to house a maintenance facility for the proposed EXPO Line extension to Santa Monica.

Acknowledging the importance of Bergamot Station as a rich arts and cultural resource for Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles-- while also valuing the need for the EXPO Line stop and a maintenance facility on the 8 acre site—Zellner proposes an integrated solution that would allow all the current uses on the site (the Santa Monica Museum of Art and over 30 private art galleries) to comfortably co-exist with a new EXPO line station and a Metro maintenance facility.

Zellner, founder of LA based design and planning firm ZELLNERPLUS, offers up an elegant but radical means to resolving the current public controversy surrounding the future of Bergamot Station:

1) Raise the existing uses;
2) Add a light rail, bus station and Metro maintenance facility at grade;
3) Cap these functions with an elevated public park;
4) Bury two levels of automated parking under this sandwich of functions in order to serve the station and the neighborhood; and
5) Improve and enlarge the Santa Monica Museum while providing market rate and affordable housing mixed with new commercial galleries, restaurants and cafes.

Like other Transit Oriented Developments (or TODs) RAISE BERGAMOT would provide:
- A Light Rail station as a prominent feature of a cultural center
- A local urban node containing a mixture of uses in close proximity
- Manageable parking inside a 10-minute walk circle around a cultural center and light rail / bus station

“This a solution,” says Zellner, “that sees current crisis surrounding the future of Bergamot Station not as a catastrophe but as an opportunity to literally and metaphorically elevate the state of the site. Rather than begin with the assumption that one new use must cancel out other current uses, our office proceeds from an understanding that great cities are complex, integrated organisms. Pulling apart, instead of combining urban functions is essentially a suburban approach that will only reinforce sprawl and limit the development of a more integrated Los Angeles.”

Second image from Zellner's proposal:

· Looks like Colorado [Curbed LA]
· Expo Line: Santa Monicans Like Colorado, Worry About Apartments [Curbed LA]