The international design competition to re-imagine Pershing Square launched by Councilmember José Huizar and Pershing Square Renew took another important step today with the selection of 10 semi-finalist teams that will now submit Proposals, seeking to be one of four finalists in this competition to re-design the nearly 150-year old public square.
Councilmember Huizar – who spearheaded the creation of Pershing Square Renew to redesign the park – is pleased with the results so far.
“These 10 teams represent an impressive mix of local, national and international talent, and that is great news for Pershing Square and Downtown Los Angeles,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “What started with 80 letters of interests, 54 teams submitting requests for qualifications, and now today’s 10 semi-finalists, will ultimately lead to one winning design team. I am very excited to see this kind of interest from some of the leading design firms in the world and I think the process we’ve put in place gives us the very best opportunity to select a final design that will truly be the gift that Downtown Los Angeles and this nearly 150-year historic plaza deserve.”
The teams that have qualified for the next round of the Pershing Square Design Competition are:
- Agence Ter from Paris, France
- Snohetta from Oslo, Norway
- James Corner Field Operations from New York City
- W Architecture from New York City
- PWP Landscape Architecture from San Francisco
- Mia Lehrer Associates from Los Angeles with !Melk from New York City
- Petersen Studio + BNIM from Los Angeles
- Rios Clementi Hale from Los Angeles with OMA from New York City
- SWA from Los Angeles and Morphosis
- wHY Architecture from Culver City, CA
These 10 teams have been selected to participate in the next phase of the competition, the Request for Proposals. The teams will present their approach and framework for re-designing the Square to the Pershing Square Renew jury and the general public in December. Following this, four finalists will be selected. In March 2016, the finalists will present to the jury in Los Angeles, with a winner announced later that month.
“Their challenge isn’t to win awards; it’s to win over hearts,” said Eduardo Santana, Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew. “More than anything else, these groups need to focus on the experiences their design will inspire and the memories the Square will create.”
The Pershing Square Renew Jury consists of:
Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA
José Huizar- Councilmember, 14th District
Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group
Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ
Wayne Ratkovich, President and CEO, The Ratkovich Co.
Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio
Michael Shull, General Manager, City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks
Janet Marie Smith, SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers
Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design
Will Wright, Downtown Resident, Director of Government and Public Affairs, AIA
On Sept. 1st, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support Councilmember José Huizar’s legislation to form a public/private partnership to overhaul and renew DTLA’s Pershing Square. The next day, consistent with that agreement, the non-profit Pershing Square Renew announced plans for an international design competition to re-envision the five-acre urban park.
Located in the heart of Downtown L.A. – at the intersection of the Financial District, and the Historic Core -- Pershing Square is the City of Los Angeles’ oldest park, dedicated in 1866 by Mayor Cristobal Aguilar as “La Plaza Abaja” (the Lower Plaza). Pershing Square has been redesigned and renamed multiple times since its inception -- the major redesigns occurred in the 1950s and early 1990s.
The initiative to overhaul and improve Pershing Square can be credited to larger revitalization efforts all around Downtown, including Huizar’s “Bringing Back Broadway” effort, which started seven years ago, and led to a rash of revitalization along the corridor that has attracted the likes of Ace Hotel, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, Umami Burger and a revitalized Grand Central Market and Clifton’s Cafeteria.
In the summer of 2013, Councilmember Huizar announced a task force of 21 Downtown stakeholders to spearhead the effort to re-imagine Pershing Square to match the broad transformation of the Downtown area.
The group included Downtown residents, design and architectural experts, business representatives and property owners, and was guided by representatives from governmental agencies like the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, LAPD and the City’s Planning Department. This task force eventually combined with a non-profit entity, Pershing Square Renew, to oversee the initiative, including oversee the design competition.
“Our semi-finalists are a diverse group with rich and impressive track records that represent the world’s best and brightest in public space design,” said Jeff Berris, Board President for Pershing Square Renew and development executive for MacFarlane Partners.
“It’s exciting to see the overwhelming interest in the future of Pershing Square, and I look forward to reviewing proposals that seek to represent the forthcoming world-class public space,” said Michael A. Shull, General Manager, Recreation and Parks.
For more detailed information about the design competition, visit www.pershingsquarenew.com/competition
About Pershing Square Renew
Pershing Square Renew, Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation created to drive the re-design of Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east, and Olive Street to the west, Pershing Square has been a popular gathering place since 1866. The effort to re-envision historic Pershing Square is led by Councilmember José Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks, MacFarlane Partners, and other Downtown leaders. In Sept. 2015, an international design competition was launched. For more information, visit: www.pershingsquarenew.com
About Councilmember José Huizar
Councilmember Huizar is a staunch advocate for the DTLA community, ushering in billions of dollars of investment to the area, creating initiatives like Bringing Back Broadway and DTLA Forward, and partnering with the County to create C-3, which builds off the success of homeless outreach Huizar has led to assist homeless individuals in Skid Row. He helped bring hundreds of acres of open space, new parks and park upgrades to park-poor areas of his district and is one of the City’s leading “Complete Streets” proponents, helping usher in Mobility 2035, DTLA Bikeshare and groundbreaking pedestrian and bike-friendly policies that are seen as the model for the entire City.
About MacFarlane Partners
MacFarlane Partners is a real estate development and investment management firm with approximately $4 billion in assets managed on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. Founded in 1987, the firm pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate investment managers in the 1990s and today is a leading investor and developer of properties that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban areas nationwide. MacFarlane Partners is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.macfarlanepartners.com