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Stoneview Nature Center
Culver City, CA

Team

Bob Hale
Jennifer Schab
Anne Clark

Categories

Civic
Ideas
This design-build competition asked entrants to transform a five-acre brownfield site into a public park in the heart of Los Angeles County. For our entry, we collaborated with several world-class partners: WORKac, a New York architectural pace-setter; Swinerton Builders; and Fritz Haeg, an artist at the vanguard of the edible landscape movement. Together, we cooked up a new model for an urban park, one that is edible and forageable, showcasing ways people living in an arid chaparral landscape can cultivate the ground beneath their feet.

We sited the 4,000-square-foot nature center building at the property's northeast corner, maximizing views of the surrounding area. From there, we planted on a gradient, positioning a fruit orchard and more traditional vegetables closest to the building, while specifying chaparral-native edibles like prickly pears (Opuntia oricola) farther away.
The transition from the tended landscape to the cultivated wild makes the park a place for learning and interaction, rather than just marveling at pretty flowers.

We also designed a trellis to extend from the building and cover more than an acre of the property. This intentionally adaptable structure could accommodate fabric shades, carry water to irrigate cultivated areas, create a skeleton for vines to climb, or support hanging plants.

The competition required that all materials from the existing site—including excavated asphalt from parking lots and demolished bricks and concrete—be reused onsite. So we buried them in a 12-foot-high, one-acre mound at the park's center, providing topographical interest and a variety of slope conditions and microclimates. Sunflowers and poplars help phytoremediate any pollutants left behind in the soil.
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