Rios Clementi Hale Studios Honored for Transformation of Under-Used Space

Last Updated: June 5, 2012

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Debut Community Plaza Wins Westside Urban Forum Award

Rios Clementi Hale Studios Honored for Transformation of Under-Used Space

Rios Clementi Hale Studios has won a 2012 Westside Urban Forum Design Award in the Public/Open Space category for the design of the Sunset Triangle Plaza in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. The Sunset Triangle Plaza is the prototype for a series of public plazas that Streets for People (S4P)-an initiative of the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health-hopes to open in Los Angeles during the next few years. Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the prototype-which opened on March 4, 2012, for a one-year trial run-to be easily replicated by community members.

The Westside Urban Forum Design Awards recognize Los Angeles-based projects, programs, policies, and academic studies that demonstrate excellence in city making and community building-work that addresses the issues of planning for and building a livable future. Winning projects are chosen by a jury of leading architects, engineers, and industry experts.

To create Sunset Triangle Plaza, Rios Clementi Hale Studios contributed its time and talents to transform an underutilized public right of way into a safe, pleasant, and vibrant public space for pedestrians and cyclists alike. The 11,000-square-foot plaza on Sunset and Griffith Park Boulevards provides a safe place for the area's residents and visitors to gather, relax, and enjoy.

The landscape architects and participating organizations utilized simple, easily enacted solutions to make a bold statement. Rios Clementi Hale Studios outlined the Sunset Triangle Plaza with rows of planters working as bollards to demarcate the site. Planters containing drought-tolerant plants (generously donated by Monrovia nursery in Azusa, CA), moveable bistro tables with umbrellas and chairs, and a whimsical painted street surface help create a community atmosphere and a respite in the middle of a busy neighborhood. Grass and trees-as well as a fountain-of an existing pocket park complement the new plaza.

The jury noted that the Sunset Triangle Plaza "demonstrates what you can do with limited resources when you have a smart idea." The jury was particularly impressed with the way the space has "such a positive impact on community."

Literally a "green space," the Sunset Triangle Plaza surface is painted in two tones of green in an enlarged polka-dot pattern. The designers intended the playful dots to be open to several interpretations. In pre-digital printing, dot patterns created halftones, and Sunset Triangle Plaza represents a site in transition-a halfway point-from street to plaza. Also, the dots play off of D.O.T., the abbreviation for Department of Transportation, which is integral to the Streets for People program.

Streets for People (S4P) is spearheaded by the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, working closely with the Departments of Transportation, Planning, and Public Works; the Office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti; community-based organizations, including the Silver Lake Improvement Association (SLIA) and the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council; and local businesses. Green LA has also been integral to S4P, providing staff support and acting as its fiscal agent.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios has earned an international reputation for its collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach, establishing an award-winning tradition across an unprecedented range of design disciplines. The firm's four principals-Mark Rios, FAIA, FASLA, Julie Smith-Clementi, IDSA, Frank Clementi, AIA, AIGA, and Bob Hale, FAIA-comprise a team involved in every aspect of design, from practice to education. Acknowledging the firm's diverse body of work, the American Institute of Architects California Council gave Rios Clementi Hale Studios its 2007 Firm Award, the organization's highest honor. For its varied landscape work-from civic parks to private gardens-the firm was named a finalist in the 2009 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards. Since 1985, the architects, landscape architects, planners, and urban, interior, exhibit, graphic, and product designers at Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been creating buildings, places, and products that are thoughtful, effective, and beautiful.

Last updated: 10-Dec-2012 08:18 AM
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