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See the Pershing Square Redesign That Would Bring Farming to Downtown LA

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A video presentation from SWA and Morphosis details plans for a "net-positive ecotopia"

On Thursday, the four finalists in a challenge to redesign Pershing Square revealed final presentations on how they'd makeover LA's most unsatisfying park space. A press release from project overseer Pershing Square Renew says that a design jury will announce the winning proposal in May. It also gives fun nicknames to each of the design teams (The "Local Force," The "Landscape Starchitect," The "Globetrotters," and "The Wildcard"). Given that the presentations are all highly detailed and come with some pretty sleek-looking videos, we're going to take a look at each individually.

"The Local Force"

Downtown LA-based firms SWA and Morphosis have teamed up to present this very environmentally-conscious design. As the video presentation explains, this new Pershing Square will symbolize Los Angeles's role as "the global leader in green technology and sustainability" and will include features like "green education facilities" and a space for "cutting edge urban food production."

Yes, that's right, the proposal calls for part of Pershing Square to be used for farming. SWA and Morphosis want to build a "vertical farm" in the northeast corner of the park--across the street from the Metro station entrance on Hill and 5th. This structure resembles a multi-story greenhouse, where food will be grown year-round to supply an "artisanal restaurant" affixed to the facility. It's not clear yet which lucky artisans will get to call this restaurant home, but the video suggests it will be a fun place to sip some wine and wait for a date who is running very late.

Of course, farm-to-table cuisine isn't the only thing this proposal offers. There are flower gardens, paths for pedestrians and bicycles, and a wetland area that will make use of recaptured stormwater and gray water. Basically, it will make Pershing Square feel like more of a park and less like a concrete wasteland. Environmental advocates and fans of all things locally-sourced should find a lot to like about this "lush, net-positive ecotopia."

Pershing Square

532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA