Installation By Anna Valentina Murch
A series of elements creating a passageway.
10250 Constellation Blvd.
Century City, Los Angeles, CA
When I was commissioned for this project the design development for this public area/garden outside the building had already been designed. I was asked to re think the area and given license from the architect to not just add interventions but to alter some of the previously designed elements.
My goal for this project was to first try and make this place not just a passageway but also an inhabitable place for people to experience. There are very few public seating areas in Century City. My conceptual premise was to make a totality of experience that would read as a sequence of related elements that collectively lead one through the passageway.
Metaphorically I thought of the place as a canyon that had been carved by water flows. I wish to reference in an abstracted way the fluidity and dynamic of a natural canyon of southern California. The interventions run like a trickle of water in a dried arroyo and end in a series of separate water baskets that collectively form a sonic walk.
The walkway, 40’ x 240’, is enclosed by a 38 story high-rise office building on the south and by 6 story high parking garage structures on both north and east so has extremely limited access to sunlight apart from mid day in the summer months. The elements of structure that I incorporated were the pacing of the allay of trees.
As you enter from the East Side a curvilinear seat wall becomes a reference to the eroded canyon wall. This wall of poured concrete references sedimentary rock. The embedded stainless steel lines of the seat are cantilevered over the ground plane. This also acts as a retaining wall for the tree wells as this whole public space is over a parking garage structure. Behind the sedimentary seat wall and planting bed is a warm gold colored poured concrete wall, which will reflect warm light into the canyon walk way.
Behind the seat wall along the façade of the parking garage a stainless steel screen curvilinear screen acts as a simple backdrop to the garden, while hiding the parking garage. From the parking garage one can look through to the walkway. The form again references the canyon walls as it reflects light into the space.
The canopy supports are moved to align with the allay of trees. The trees are changed into basket like forms that reference the first inhabitants of California. At the West End, which connects to the road and valet parking. These basket like columns help to separate the people in the courtyard from the traffic yet still allows visibility from the street. They also frame the view of the bowls and curvilinear arroyo walls beyond.
In the West End of the garden a series of water bowls with moving water swirling into the bowls from the points of the pattern under the rim. The granite stone mosaic interiors of the bowls refer to "feather and swirl patterns" used in the Native American baskets. This relief forms a washboard-texture that creates a soft sonic aspect to the water reminiscent the white sound from a brook. The pattern is visible through the texture and relief from the raised mosaic of stone. The soft sound of water coming from all four bowls, four areas so you will have the sense of surrounding one sonically while it to muffles the noise of the traffic.
If the water has to be tuned off, due to a drought, the bowls will still look beautiful as elements flowing in the courtyard. The placement of the bowls suggests raised eddies in the flow of the river.