A transformative process for building places that connect people and strengthen communities.
The renewal of Pershing Square, building on the global placemaking movement, aspires to be a model for the transformation of public spaces throughout Los Angeles and beyond.
“When placemaking is a community process; and the goal is to create great experiences for people over award-winning design, then two aspirations for Pershing Square rise above all others: 1. That people love the square; 2. That people own the square as their own (because it is).” – Eduardo Santana, Pershing Square Renew
Pershing Square’s success is built on the inherent capacity of Angelenos to contribute to the vision for the square and the life of the place. Through an extensive and ongoing community engagement process, Pershing Square Renew is committed to ensuring that the revitalization of the square is informed by the community’s vision for the space and fosters a sense of belonging, ownership, and pride over the square and the city.
In late 2013, the Pershing Square Task Force held various community meetings throughout Downtown Los Angeles to learn about what residents and other local stakeholders wanted out of a new Pershing Square.
In the winter of 2015, Pershing Square Renew began a community outreach process aimed at soliciting thoughts, recommendations, and desires of the Angelenos with regards to the square. Pershing Square Renew engaged the Project for Public Spaces to support the community outreach process and interpret this input as a program for the space. The process involved a Placemaking Workshop, focus groups with key stakeholders, Pop-Up Placemaking, and community surveys. These efforts drove all of the suggestions contained within a final report that detailed PPS's ideas for programming for the space that is currently being used to inform the competition for the redesign of the space.
And in April 2013, Pershing Square was selected to participate in the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program, an initiative aimed at boosting community participation in the creation, design, and programming of public spaces. Based on the "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” approach, the program aims to bring new life to the park in incremental and immediate ways through small-scale physical improvements and programming.
The Design Competition
Pershing Square Renew announced our international Design Competition In the Summer of 2015 to Reimagine the Heart of Los Angeles. On April 28, 2016, the four finalists presented their proposals to a packed theater of over 1,000 local citizens who were invited to share their aspirations and insights.
We invite you to experience the amazing energy and creativity that our teams and citizens have brought to Reimagine the Heart of L.A.:
Design Competition Guidelines
2) Provide appropriate mix of program opportunities.
3) Reinforce and strengthen a unique identity for Pershing Square.
4) Bolster pedestrian access & establish the primacy of pedestrian circulation.
5) Integrate surrounding streets & sidewalks as compliments to Pershing Square.
6) Alleviate conflicts with vehicular access and circulation.
7) Incorporate an appropriate & sustainable blend of landscape solutions.
8) Support the financial and operational sustainability of Pershing Square.
Agence Ter and Team - Winner
With the aim of being capable of realizing the vision for Pershing Square, Agence Ter is pleased to propose a team, largely established in Downtown LA and rich in experience in designing and constructing exceptional spaces that welcome the public.
Using the landscape as a basis for designing the city represents the guiding principle driving Agence Ter. The office benefits from 30 years experience in public-space contracting as demonstrated by the current projects for major parks in Paris, including Parc de Cormailles (9 ha, French Landscape Grand Prix 2007), Parc de Boulogne (7 ha), Parc des Docks de Saint-Ouen (12 ha) and the Carrières-sous-Poissy ecological park (200 ha). Agence Ter has also completed projects in Spain (Plaça de les Gloriés in Barcelona (15 ha)), Germany (Aqua Magica park in Bad Oeynhausen, the Duisburg central square) and Ireland (Royal Canal project).
To complement the experiences of its European office, Agence Ter will partner with the local landscape architecture firm SALT Landscape Architects. We will also work with specialized partners Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning and Fehr and Peers, Community Arts Resources (CARS), Kelly Shannon, Leo Villareal, Pentagram, still room, Rachel Allen Architecture, KPFF, M-E Engineers, and Lighting Design Alliance.
James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher and Partners - Finalists
James Corner Field Operations is known for Santa Monica’s much-beloved Tongva Park as well as Manhattan’s High Line, arguably the greatest and most popular public park of the millennium. The award-winning firm is also working on designs for San Francisco’s Presidio Parklands, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, Miami’s Lincoln Road, and Cleveland’s Public Square. For Pershing Square, James Corner is collaborating with LA-based architect Frederick Fisher & Partners. Additional team members include Buro Happold, Fehr & Peers, Horton Lees Brogden, HR&A Advisors, Gardiner and Theobald, Tomato, James Rojas, Dan Euser, Mark Pally, Bob Perry and John Greenlee.
Together the team represents the very best of international, national and local national expertise in creating one-of-a-kind, vibrant urban parks that resonate with both people and place.
The design approach for Pershing Square is to re-create the “green garden oasis” that characterized the original square, providing generous social spaces for everyday strolling, relaxation and play, as well as for special events, markets, festivals, arts and performance. The aim is to create an iconic open space specific to Downtown Los Angeles, capturing both its historical significance as well as its future potential as an ever-evolving, cosmopolitan cultural center-piece – an iconic green platform for contemporary civic life.
SWA | Morphosis - Finalists
SWA | Morphosis is a visionary team focused on the future of dense urban spaces around the US. Based out of downtown L.A., SWA is a leading landscape architecture firm with a portfolio of public realm projects that includes the highly recognized Guthrie Green in Tulsa. Gerdo Aquino of SWA is joined by LA-based architecture firm Morphosis, led by Thom Mayne, Pritzker Prize winning architect.
Partnering with ELP Associates, BRV and TBA, experts in urban revitalization and public-private partnerships, we have created a sustainable revenue model centered on a flexible venue that supports cultural activities throughout the year. Fluidity and Buro-Happold, leading sustainability experts, have engineered a net-positive urban water harvesting system that collects and filters water for the future square and its immediate surroundings.
Sustainable design and flexible programming lie at the heart of our design approach. The square will need to be many things for many people--day and night. It will need to be a safe public space, a local spot with dining and art to meet and mingle, a place to play, a mobility hub. Together, we’ve designed a 21st century urban park that will serve our downtown for generations to come.
wHY + Civitas - Finalists
Design firms wHY and Civitas joined together to address the challenges and opportunities of Pershing Square in Los Angeles. Specializing in urban design, architecture and landscape architecture, the two firms located in Los Angeles and Denver respectively demonstrate a level of familiarity with the whole of Los Angeles, an ability to address the critical needs of communities through the design of parks and engaging programs, and generate value for cities, people and society.
Led by architect Kulapat Yantrasast and landscape architect Mark Johnson, the collective wHY + Civitas team has designed valuable and beautiful projects across the country. These projects include San Diego Convention Center’s public rooftop park, St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary, Jackson Park in Chicago, ‘Ribbon of the Thames’ in London, Ontario, the March 2016 opening of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, and temporary exhibitions for organizations like the A+D Museum, Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Skirball Cultural Center, LACMA and others.
The wHY + Civitas design approach is to connect Los Angeles with parks, healthy places for socializing, exercising, playing, learning and relaxing. For Pershing Square, we envision an exemplary model for how to transform this public piece of LA into the heart of the city.
Agence Ter and Team
James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher and Partners
SWA | Morphosis
wHY + Civitas
Phase 01: Request for Qualification
- September 08, 2015
- Release Phase 01: Request For Qualification
- September 16, 2015:
- Optional Pre-proposal Meeting (9-10AM, Location: Nation Builder: 520 S Grand Ave, 2nd floor)
- September 25, 2015:
- Deliverable: Letter of Intent
- September 30, 2015:
- Question and Answer Period Closed
- October 06, 2015:
- Deliverable: Qualifications Submittal
Phase 02: Request for Proposals
- October 27, 2015:
- Shortlist notified.
- Release Phase 02: Request for Proposals
- November 17, 2015:
- Deliverable: Proposal Submittal
- December 07-11, 2015:
- Conduct Team Interviews in Los Angeles (tentatively)
- December 11, 2015:
- Community Exhibition (tentatively)
Phase 03: Competition
- December 18, 2015:
- Finalists notified.
- Release final Phase 03: Competition Guidelines
- January 11, 2016:
- Mandatory Competition Kick-off Meeting
- February 01-05, 2016:
- One-on-one team meetings
- April 6, 2016:
- Teams submit their proposals for review
- April 28, 2016:
- Public event where the 4 finalists present their ideas
- May 2-9, 2016:
- Public outreach–Tell us what you think of the proposals
- May 12, 2016:
- Competition Winner Announced