Pershing Square renew in LA announces design finalists

Nick Myall
Wednesday 23 Dec 2015

Four firms offer competing, compelling visions for a revitalized heart of Downtown LA

The international competition to re-imagine a 150-year-old public park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, USA, moved a step closer to reality on Monday with the announcement of the four final design teams. 

“The world-class firms selected by our jury represent a huge range,” said Eduardo Santana, Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew. “They include global stars and local unknowns. They’ve built towers and landscapes and many creations in between. But they all had one thing in common—they didn’t just make us want to see more from them, they inspired us to imagine more for Pershing Square.”

“As our exceptionally talented design teams are narrowed down to these four, Pershing Square is one step closer to once again becoming the focal point of life, commerce and civic engagement in Downtown Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar, whose 14th District includes the park, and who spearheaded the formation of Pershing Square Renew and the design competition. “This design competition has allowed hundreds of the most creative architectural and design experts in the world to focus their attention on the City’s oldest park. DTLA and the City of Los Angeles will be the beneficiaries of that consideration, and I cannot wait to see what our four finalists have in store for us.” 


The four finalists are:

The “Local Force”: SWA with Morphosis. Both of these firms are based in Downtown LA and well represented throughout Southern California, as well as nationally and internationally. 

The “Landscape Starchitect”: James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners. New York’s James Corner is responsible for Manhattan’s High Line, arguably the greatest new public park of the millennium, as well as Santa Monica’s Tongva Park. 

The “Globetrotters”: Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects. Paris-based Agence TER’s landscapes dot Europe and have reached the Middle East and French Guyana. 

The “Wild Card”: wHY with Civitas. Located in Culver City, relative newcomers wHY, partnered with Denver’s well-known Civitas Landscape Architecture group, offered a creative approach that intrigued the jury at every level of the competition. 

“This jury was blown away by the amount of talent and insight that all ten competitors brought to the table,” said Janet Marie Smith, Senior Vice President for Planning and Development of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the chair of the Pershing Square Renew design competition’s jury. “In the end, there was a strong consensus that these four competitors were going to take Pershing Square — the heart of Downtown LA — in exciting directions we hadn’t anticipated.”

Pershing Square, the public park that covers an entire city block adjacent to LA’s Historic Core, Jewelry District, Bunker Hill and Civic Center, as well as a major transit station, has seen multiple incarnations, the most recent an overhaul dating back to the early 1990’s. In September of this year, Councilmember Huizar spurred the creation of Pershing Square Renew, a public-private partnership to overhaul and re-envision the five-acre park that emerged from the Councilmember’s broad vision for a revitalized Downtown LA.

This project was first featured on WAN Business Information on 9 September 2015


Nick Myall

News Editor

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