Pershing Square is Los Angeles's oldest park, dating from 1866 (with name changes and redesigns since), but an unfortunate Post-Modern renovation in the early 1990s has also made it LA's most hated. With Downtown's re-emergence over the past decade, the city has decided to do something about it. Today the organization Pershing Square Renew, with the blessing of the LA City Council, announced a design competition to make over the five-acre park in the heart of Downtown. Mega-architecture-firm Gensler will serve as design advisor during the early stages, and LA City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who's led the redesign charge, describes the future Pershing as "a platform for civic engagement, a place of rest, play and leisure for residents, local community stakeholders, and visitors alike."
Here's how the competition will go:
Phase I: An open invitation "to all interested design teams" to submit their qualifications and a portfolio showing they're up to the task.
Phase II: In November, 10 or 12 semifinalists will move on and "be asked to prepare a vision idea for Pershing Square to demonstrate their understanding of project aspirations and their innovative approach in creating the desired experience."
Phase III: In February, four teams will be picked to receive a stipend for work on actual designs for the park.
A winner will be selected in late February.
The whole process will take six months and designs will be evaluated by "a team of advisors" who will advise Pershing Square Renew's Board of Directors, which will make the ultimate decision in each round. In the release, Huizar says that the new Pershing Square will be finished in 2020.
PSR has seed money from developers working on big projects in the area and more is on the way soon. LA's Department of Rec and Parks will also contribute $1 million in the near future "for infrastructure improvements and amenities." PSR has already held outreach meetings with the community, which, according to their website, wants a park that serves the Downtown community specifically, that's dog-friendly, and that has less concrete and more green space (duh).
· Competition to Redesign Downtown LA's Hated Pershing Square Launches Tomorrow [Curbed LA]
· No One Wants to Turn Pershing Square Into an Urban Beach [Curbed LA]