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Case Study: Pico Branch Library and Virginia Avenue Park

May 27, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT

Free – $15.00


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Photo Credit: Eric Staudenmaier

Case Study: Pico Branch Library and Virginia Avenue Park

This is a virtual event. Zoom log-in information will be emailed to registrants 24 hours in advance from events@aialosangeles.org. If you do not receive a confirmation 24 hours prior to the event, please email events@aialosangeles.org.

CES Learning Units: 1 LU

Project Credits:
Architect: KoningEizenberg Architecture; Owner: City of Santa Monica; Landscape: Spurlock Landscape Architects; Structural: Thornton Tomasetti; MEP: Glumac; Civil: KPFF; Surveyor: JMC2; Geotech: Geodesign; Library: Linda Demmens; Environmental Graphics: Newsom Design; Lighting Design: Lighting Design Alliance; Acoustic: Veneklasen & Associates; LEED: Brightworks; Cost Estimating: C.P. O’Halloran


A conversation with KoningEizenberg principal Nathan Bishop AIA, LEED AP and Spurlock Landscape principal Andy Spurlock RLA, FASLA as they describe the inclusive community design process and series of strategic public workshops that developed the 9 Acre Virginia Avenue Park and 8,7000 SF Pico Branch Library. The talk will highlight the comprehensive design process, city and neighborhood ambitions, current daily use, and lasting impact of the park.

The design to expand and revitalize the existing Virginia Avenue Park into the first Silver LEED park in the nation was developed through an extensive community process and involved the integration of two adjacent parcels (adding 3.2 acres to the original 5.8-acre park), remodels, and upgrades of existing buildings, and the addition of new elements including a new pavilion building, a new children’s playground, a water play feature, and an area to accommodate a weekly Farmers Market. The park knits together two parts of the neighborhood and has been welcomed by the community.

Soon after the park’s completion in 2005, plans for integrating Pico Branch library developed through a series of community meetings to locate the library, define a program, and design identity. Through that process, the idea of a light-filled, informal community living room evolved to support the needs of the neighborhood.

The library’s siting preserves existing green space to activate the park’s event plaza, which hosts a local Farmers Market on Saturdays. The project straddles a fire lane to create a community room and amphitheater and engages existing buildings that offer activities for teens, children, job seekers, and seniors.

A strong roof sets the architectural identity of the LEED Platinum building with a photovoltaic canopy that offsets carbon footprint and spans the fire lane with a textural play of shade and shadow. Indoor/outdoor connectivity is enhanced by the passive shading of the roof on the glass, reducing reflection, and maximizing visibility. Skylights and a carved ceiling amplify daylight within the building, define a distinctive roof and ceiling shape, and place a community pavilion in the heart of the park.

Upcoming Case Studies – Lunch Special





Nathan Bishop, AIA, LEED AP – Principal + KoningEizenberg Architecture
Nathan Bishop, AIA, LEED AP combines rigorous design thinking and empathy to propel the kind of innovative thinking, critical conversation, and spirit of inquiry which is key to KoningEizenberg’s culture. Nathan joined the firm in 2005, and became a Principal in 2011. Drawing on exceptional visualization and communication skills to quickly extract the unrecognized potential of complex urban contexts through strategy and form, Nathan has expanded the firm’s design capacity and integrated new technologies into design and practice. He teaches and lectures in design, architectural history and theory, and cultural studies, and has served on the Board of Directors for the LA Forum for Art and Architecture. His interest in learning environments for all ages inspired his tenure as President of the Board of his local preschool, Hill & Dale, where he set expectations for leadership, organization, and goals for long-term growth.


Andrew Spurlock, FASLA – Design Principal, Spurlock Landscape Architects
Andy Spurlock, Spurlock’s Founder, is noted for its sensitivity and innovation, and has been recognized throughout his career with awards and honors. He has maintained a freshness of vision, seeing each project as a new opportunity to examine the complexities – and possibilities – of the particular site and situation and mold them into an original and responsive solution. He likes to work on projects of varying scales ranging from private gardens to major planning studies. As part of this experience, he has worked with many highly regarded artists and architects. He enjoys the planning process through collaboration with communities and agencies over a period of time to holistically integrate multiple projects for a successful vision. He also acted as landscape architect for Petco Park which helped ignite new interest in San Diego’s Downtown and an unprecedented wave of redevelopment. Andy also serves as a founding member of the San Diego Canyonlands whose goal is to develop a coherent open space restoration for the region. Andy is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in recognition for a career of design excellence.


Learning Objectives:
+ Participants will gain technical knowledge of sustainability features that also set the architectural identity of the Virginia Avenue Park and Pico Branch Library.
+ Participants will learn about the cost parameters of digital fabrication.
+ Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of inclusive community design.
+ Participants will gain an understanding of inclusive architectural identity and a design approach that focuses on crafting informal social and physical opportunities between a building and its context.


May 27, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PDT
Free – $15.00
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