RE-ENVISIONING LOS ANGELES

Winner of railLA Call for Ideas 2010
Nominee for Foster & Partners Award for Sustainable Infrastructure 2010
railLA Exhibition – City National Plaza, Los Angeles, Aug 2010
Takenaka Corporation Exhibition – Japan, Jul-Sep 2010
KASD (Kyoto University College of Architecture) Exhibition – Japan, Nov-Dec 2010
Published: MARK 29 p.18

In Southern California and especially Los Angeles, the automobile centric planning has resulted in a sprawling metropolis primarily emphasizing the disadvantages of a large city without offering many of the benefits city dwellers enjoy elsewhere around the world. The project questions this lost Californian Dream in LA’s automobile oriented society and is an urban response to the forthcoming arrival of the High Speed Rail, initiating redevelopment of areas within downtown, with the aim of re-invigorating the Californian dream and recapture freedom and mobility, hence a paradigm shift to a transit-oriented society.

By diverting the existing rail tracks from the LA River, the opportunity arises to activate connections to the river, currently a totally inaccessible and controlled encasement. Understanding the composition of LA Downtown and in identifying the combined implication area of this proposed diversion and the new high speed rail, the transformation of Union Station was chosen as the focus of the project, driving the design for the other plots within the implication area, and in particular projecting new connections onto the neighboring plot and subsequently activating connections to the river.

The proposed transformation of Union Station involves the design of a free flowing arrangement of through routes that contrast with and compliment the ordered and linear arrangement of the existing station. The proposed articulated roofscape consists of a series of green spaces generated by the use of recycled greywater. Tapered hollow steel structural sections double as concealed water inlets and outlets to distribute recycled greywater onto designated soiless vegetated surfaces and sheet metal surfaces, together combining natural plant filtration and artificial water flows, to purify air in downtown’s major traffic node. In addition, recycled greywater is channeled to the station platforms and a series of new vegetated courtyard spaces, offering a more tranquil experience to transit in contrary to the busy-ness experienced in conventional transit.

The proposed structure bridges the existing station, with its captured and manicured nature, with the LA River bed, which has a similarly overpowered and totally controlled encasement. By diverting the rail tracks from the river, the creation a new landscape of ground and water interaction as an extension to the transformed Union Station is made possible, completing the experience created by this modulation and integration of man-made structure and nature.

The project has been nominated for the Foster and Partners Award for Sustainable Infrastructure, and has been exhibited in London, Tokyo, Kyoto, and most recently in Los Angeles as part of the RailLA ‘LA Beyond Cars’ Exhibition.

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