By The Angels 2010 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
By The Angels 2010 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
A French-led team’s proposal to bring “radical flatness” to Pershing Square park in downtown Los Angeles was selected as the winning design out of four finalists, Councilman Jose Huizar announced Thursday.

The concept by a team headed by Paris-based landscape architecture firm Agence Ter includes a reflecting pool across from the Biltmore hotel and a canopy designed by lighting artist Leo Villareal.

The “radical flatness” idea would transform a park that is currently raised atop a parking garage and features a collection of eclectic structures that obstruct sight-lines. Under the proposed concept, Sixth Street could be viewed from across the park at Fifth Street, and Olive Street could likewise be seen from Hill Street.

Agence Ter director Henri Bava said the team is  “extremely excited and ready to contribute to the rebirth of downtown Los Angeles through the renewing of Pershing Square.”

“By radically flattening the lifted surface, it will reach out to the neighborhood again, establishing a real dialogue with the city,” Bava said. “It will become a green, sustainable and active destination for the metropolis and will be timeless and elegant through its welcoming simplicity.”

Pershing Square, one of the oldest parks in the city, has been described by critics in recent years as resembling a fortress. The most recent design of the park was by architects Ricardo Legorreta and Laurie Olin. The garage was added in the 1950s.

Huizar, who set up the nonprofit Pershing Square Renew to spearhead a redesign effort for the park, called the winning design concept is “brilliant and thoughtful.”

He said it meets the nonprofit’s goal of making the park “an open, warm and inviting design” in which the focus is on “serving people and not form,” and making the park the “true heart of downtown Los Angeles.”

The winning team features several Los Angeles-based firms, including SALT Landscapes Architects, Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning, Community Arts Resources and Rachel Allen Architecture.

Their proposal was the first choice of the Pershing Square Renew’s nine- member jury, which includes chair Janet Marie Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Huizar, Recreation and Parks General Manager Michael Shull and Cal Poly Pomona School of Environmental Design dean Michael Woo.

The team’s concept also received the highest score from 1,355 members of the public who provided input.

— City News Service 

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