Playa Vista Park

The 8-acre Playa Vista Park creates an infrastructure of active recreation and performance spaces that support unscripted activity and an open experience of public space in our city. Located at the eastern terminus of one of the largest infill urban developments in the United States, the Park creates a flexible network of interconnection, a campus that links and expands the surrounding context of offices to include the Park as a whole. 
Defined as a series of bands which extend across its length, the Park physically and programmatically links offices to the north and south. Each of these bridges literally span between a series of ponds and figuratively connect the surrounding context through the long bosques of alders, elms, and pines which trace their outline. These tree-lined rooms, defined through their programmatic use and spatial characteristics, concatenate to form a bar code of experiences through which visitors can traverse enfilade, short-cut across a single bridge, or navigate at random. 
The Park is not a mimetic representation of nature, but is instead defined by its activity, its utility, and its performance. Rather than creating a series of static scenes in relationship to a fixed, linear narrative, the Park encourages a multiplicity of simultaneous itineraries, experiences, and encounters through its function and form. Individual program areas, including the soccer fields and basketball courts to the west and amphitheater lawn and a large open bosque for gathering and relaxation to the east extend to the street edge, a drop-down menu of activities drawing visitors directly within.
Along its central axis, a single path connects entry plazas at the Park’s east and west edges, uniting it in a single perspective. Echoing the historic Howard Hughes runway which once crossed the site, this trajectory is further defined by elongated stripes of color and light designed with artist Daniel Buren, visible not only within the Park but also to aircraft landing at the nearby Los Angeles International Airport. Long allées of Jacarandas crisscross the Park from west to east, blooming in the spring and early summer to create strong bands of color linking the park as a whole. In this way, the Park is akin to a campus, its tightly integrated network of pathways and programs simultaneously open, unscripted, and democratic in how they are accessed and used.
Beyond the courts, a large amphitheater slopes to the north, shaping sight lines to a Bandshell at the Park’s center. Rising above the park, the Bandshell’s circular iconography is defined by a series of three rings which arc above the pedestrian paths at its base, extending trajectories of movement from the adjacent landscape into its dynamic form. These three steel hoops structure the shell’s envelope, a pleated membrane which floats lightly above the landscape, its glowing form visible throughout the Park and beyond as day gives way to night. The Bandshell incorporates a flexible lighting grid and an expansive stage which can support a wide range of performance, including theatrical productions as well as outdoor movies and events. 
Michael Maltzan Architecture
Last updated: 13-Aug-2013 03:58 PM