FAB Park Wants Your Input

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Conceptual proposals for FAB by, clockwise from top left: Brooks + Scarpa; AECOM; Eric Owen Moss Architects; Mia Lehrer Associates

You may have heard of the design competition for Pershing Square. But how about FAB, otherwise known as First and Broadway? That’s a new park to be built on the southeast corner of First and Broadway in downtown, adjacent to Grand Park and City Hall.

The park is one of fifty being built in LA; it is overseen by the Bureau of Engineering in collaboration with the Department of Park and Recs, the Mayor’s Office, and Councilman Jose Huizar’s 14th Council District Office. Typically the BoE, which has around 400 projects underway, invites public comment; here they have held a limited competition, and are inviting the public to come see and comment on the schemes.

Four LA-based design teams have been shortlisted — the landscape group of AECOM, a vast engineering and architecture firm that built the police headquarters in downtown; Mia Lehrer + Associates, Landscape Architects whose projects include the LA river revitalization plan, the National History Museum gardens and the landscaping of the NFL stadium site in Inglewood; Brooks + Scarpa Architects, whose portfolio includes artful residences and multifamily projects; Eric Owen Moss, former director of SCI-Arc who transformed the Hayden Tract in Culver City with highly idiosyncratic remodels of warehouses.

Park design by Brooks + Scarpa
Park design by Brooks + Scarpa (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

For Deborah Weintraub, Chief Deputy Engineer at the Bureau of Engineering, this is all about increasing the quality of design and civic engagement in that design. “We got four distinct proposals which is really exciting because that’s the value of a competition,” she says, adding, “It emphasizes that design matters.”

“Everyone who proposed had thought very deeply about how the site could interpret an LA landscape, how it could be an LA park,” with features making it distinctive for LA, such as addressing the region’s “water scarcity, climate change and multi-culturalism.”

Park design by Mia Lehrer Associates
Park design by Mia Lehrer Associates and team including OMA, Ideo and Marc Pally. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

There is another way in which the project breaks from traditional park design: central to the program is food and art.

Design teams have been asked to include a rotating public art feature in the park, similar to PS1 or the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park in London, and a restaurant. The inclusion of these destinations represents a growing trend in the making of civic space: the leveraging of food and art attractions to bring in both a revenue stream and a crowd, all hours of day and night.

The city will build the core and shell of the restaurant, and a restaurateur will do the interior buildout.

Park design by Eric Owen Moss Architects
Park design by Eric Owen Moss Architects (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

The park, estimated to cost $10-12 million, is an almost 2-acre site at at 217 W. 1st Street in Downtown Los Angeles. It is an open space east and in front of City Hall, taking Grand Park to First street and right across from the Los Angeles Times building. It was purchased by the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks from the State in 2013, and was made a dedicated site  for the development of a new park under the City’s “50 Parks Initiative.”

A 2-level underground parking structure on the site was demolished to make way for the park.

Park design by AECOM
Park design by AECOM (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Models and drawings of conceptual schemes for the park are currently on display in the lobby of 201 North Figueroa. They will be moved to the City Hall Rotunda for a public meeting on Tuesday, February 16, and will stay through the 17th, then go back to the Figueroa building. A public meeting will take place at 5pm on February 16. Teams will present and people can ask questions and a designer will be selected within the coming weeks.

Or go online and check out the projects and send comments via email.