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Medallion Architects Explain Downtown's Newest Park

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Photos: Elizabeth Daniels
The Teletubbies-like grassy park at the Medallion, that new rental building at Main and 4th streets, is just about done (a large art piece is still coming, more on that later today), so we recently met up with M2A Architects, the Silver Lake-based architecture firm behind the building and this new public park (and its curious elevations). “You’re supposed to feel like the ground is lifting up,” explained M2A Architects principal Andrew Cox, standing near the tip of one of the pinball ramps. Rather than make a "typical park," the architects wanted to make the landscape more interesting, added principal Barry Milofsky. Typical it's not: Children will enjoy hurling themselves down the grassy slopes, women are advised to remove their heels, and everyone will enjoy the addition of a possible newsstand or coffee shop, both of which could fit into one of the unleased kiosk spaces on the park. Here's hoping for one of those retailers. There are also large steps where people can sit for performances or concerts, according to Milofsky, and an open flat space with tables and palm trees that downtowners can use for lunch breaks. At the moment, this part with the tables may feel a bit too California Plaza-y for some people (in other words: tucked away from the street, remote and '90s), but Milofsky says that eventually this plaza may extend all the way to Boyd Street,which would make it level with the Los Angeles street side (Main Street is significantly higher than Los Angeles Street).

Meanwhile, the architects also talked about the challenge of designing a ground-up building in the Old Bank District, an area known for its late 1800s and early 1900s structures. To fit in, the architects chose an innocuous color--a white-ish gray, similar to the color palette of the nearby buildings--and tried to add details like cornices to match the architectural pattern of the nearby structures. Additionally, the building height is about the same as nearby buildings. "You try and make a project that doesn't look like it just came in and landed," said Milofsky.

As for the retail part of the project---it's a rental/retail hybrid--the large space on Main Street was designed for a restaurant, and so there may or may not be outdoor tables and chairs along that now-wider sidewalk east of 4th on Main Street (the Department of Transportation forced the developers to widen the sidewalk). And there's still no movement on that much-talked about possible grocery tenant for the area in the garage portion of the complex, according to the rep for the leasing office.

Meanwhile, 23 people have moved into the building, according to the rep, and 30 leases have been signed. Rents range from $1,440-$2,310.
· M2 Architects [Official Site]

The Medallion

334 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 Visit Website