A Shared Backyard for Downtown: South Park Commons

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Location: California / Los Angeles / USA / Type: Pocket Parks / Built: 2019 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on February 22, 2021

Most residents of Downtown Los Angeles trade away personal open space to enjoy the vibrant urban experiences of the revitalized city center. Our design for South Park Commons emphasizes a green and simple space for young and old to experience the delight and imagination of nature in a shared backyard. The design for this quarter-acre park includes a series of unique garden rooms so visitors can find a variety of spaces for respite in the park. It also allows for the community to enjoy shared activities and programs, with space for small performances, movies in the park, and readings. A restaurant terrace is situated on the south side of the park which promotes socializing and activating the park at all times of day.

Over 50 species of flowering plants, grasses, shrubs and trees have been planted in the park. These selections are a robust and resilient mix of native and adapted plants that bring enjoyment and seasonal interest to this small urban site. Views into the park and through the park have been intentionally framed from different approaches by angling the fins on the fence enclosure that surrounds the site. The dynamic nature of the park layout aims to promote socialization and intimate gathering by way of incorporating absorbent geometries – shapes that promote sitting and interacting with others in urban spaces. The sculptural forms of integrated seating elements were designed with comfort and durability in mind. A significant public art piece by Desire Obtain Cherish called Lucky Break provides an iconic gateway near the Grand Avenue side of the park.

Website: www.rios.com/projects/south-park-commons/

Project location (Street, City, Country): S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Design year: 2017

Year Built: 2019

Manufacturer of urban equipment: Vestre – Outdoor Furniture; Atelier Vierkant – Outdoor Ceramic Pots; Sculpture – Desire Obtain Cherish

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