A non-profit collaboration between government and community, Pershing Square Renew, Inc is dedicated to facilitating the renewal of Pershing Square – one of Downtown LA’s most iconic parks – to provide a “world-class public space for those who live in, work in, visit and love DTLA”.
Originally opened in 1886, Pershing Square has undergone a number of redesigns over the years. The five-acre park sits in the heart of downtown LA, and will become once more a hub of community engagement as it is cleverly integrated into its surroundings by Agence Ter’s winning design. The competition netted 4 finalists who were scored by 1355 members of the public before being judged by the Pershing Square Renew jury. Agence Ter’s design was unanimously selected as the winner by the jury.
The current park incorporates a parking garage beneath the space, creating an elevation at its centre, and is surrounded by concrete walls that define and close in the space. This will be eliminated by Angence Ter’s proposal. In eliminating the current elevation of the park, the new design aims to bring the space back to street level, to better engage with the surrounding space. This “radical flatness” will reestablish eye-site across the park and into the environment around the park’s edges.
A reflecting pool will site along the west perimeter of the park, and a large “smart canopy” by artist Leo Villareal will extend along one edge of the park’s grounds. The canopy will not only provide shade during the day but, as it is lit, will also provide additional lighting at night. Water-cycling and alternative energy systems will also be incorporated into the park to satisfy sustainability and efficiency requirements.
Designed with a balance of open and covered areas, the new Pershing Square Park will include both flexible and programmable space to create an ecologically diverse environment that best serves the local community.
“We are extremely excited and ready to contribute to the rebirth of Downtown Los Angeles through the renewing of Pershing Square,” said Henri Bava, founder and director of Agence Ter. “By radically flattening the lifted surface, it will reach out to the neighborhood again, establishing a real dialogue with the city. It will become a green, sustainable and active destination for the metropolis and will be timeless and elegant through its welcoming simplicity.”
With over 30 years of experience in public space contracting, predominantly in Europe, Agence Ter is well equipped to undertake the Pershing Square renewal. Desirous of collaboration with local flavor, Agence Ter will partner with landscape architecture firm SALT Landscape Architects and a host of other specialised partners to complete the Pershing Square project.