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Norwegian Umbrella Will Cleanse Downtown's Industrial Zone

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All images are from the Norway team's winning submission Technology meets permeable membranes meets Rihanna hit circa 2007? Yes, we're talking about an architectural competition--what else could it be? So a round of applause for a group of architects from Norway whose "Project Umbrella" won that recent "Clean Tech Corridor" competition. As everyone knows, the city is in the process of trying to remake a stretch of the industrial area near the Arts District, and turn it into a "CleanTech Corridor," a happy hub of cleantech businesses, be it solar energy companies or battery technology battery firms or just about any business with a slightly green angle. While the Community Redevelopment Agency looks for businesses and the DWP gets ready for that fancy-sounding Hewitt Street incubator, SCI-Arc and the Architect's Newspaper held a "Cleantech Corridor" competition. Envision our corridor, they asked.

A group of three architects, all under 30, won the top prize in the professionals category: They are: Constantin Boincean, Ralph Bertram, and Aleksandra Danielak from Oslo, Norway.

Here is their description of Project Umbrella, which envisions mushroom-like hubs sprouting up around the city:

"Project Umbrella sets out to reinterpret and enrich LA’s existing infrastructure by implementing a point-based renewal strategy that will gradually transform the city grid into a greener and more attractive public space. Mushroom-like structures named solar evaporators tap into the city’s sewage, collecting and clarifying the black water originating from the surrounding blocks. The clear water is distributed and released into the streets through a process of evaporation and condensation triggering a transformation of the conventional streets into a network of lush, cultivated landscapes.

Green webs spreading out from the evaporators generate incentives for new, sustainable developments within and around them. The central urban plaza’s become focal points within a gradual process of transformation that will affect the way people will see, use, and experience their city. They are platforms for new types of social activity and form nodes within an elaborate transportation network that will stimulate the use of public and non-motorized modes of transportation as a new means of exploring the future city of LA."

And later: "A vision slowly dawns on us, sprouting from within the crevices of the city, a network of green boulevards and lushly vegetated streets arises, blooming with activity. Watery domes, glistering in the sun define a cityscape the likes of which can only be the hanging gardens of Semiramis. Could Los Angeles become the first wonder of a sustainable world?"

Heck ya! Download their entire description here.

According to the press release from the competition sponsors, seventy entries were received from architectural firms and students in 11 countries including Austria, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States.