Westwood United Methodist Church

Westwood, CA

Client: Westwood United Methodist Church

Key Personnel:

            Jeff Marsh, Huitt-Zollars, Inc. – Civil Engineer

            John Labib, John Labib & Associates – Structural Engineer

            Lionel Villanueva, Davidovich & Associates – Mechanical Engineer

            Majeid Ghaemi, Davidovich & Associates – Plumbing Engineer

            Ellery Arevalo, Davidovich & Associates – Electrical Engineer

            John Brubaker Architectural Lighting Consultants – Lighting

            Ed Hill, Geotechnologies, Inc. – Soils Engineer

            Dee Carlin, Carlin Environmental Consulting

            John Heidt, Heidt Torres – Construction Manager

 

Completion Date: 2011

 

WESTWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Honoring the Boulevard: Opportunistic Urban Place-making/ Park-making

 

 

This project illustrates how there are no throw-away spaces.  It honors the city and it honors the (Wilshire) boulevard by creating a quasi-public pocket park out of what was destined to be an otherwise grandiose, people-less driveway.  

 

The simple program, a bathroom addition with planters, was opportunistically leveraged into architecture as building/landscape/urban furniture to create a new archetype - the quasi-public pocket park. 

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

The project came about when the Church leased its huge parking lot to an upscale senior housing developer for 55 years.  The space between the new housing and the Church was going to be filled with a large driveway lined with planters, which also presented a significant accessibility problem.  The critical urban contribution—and new Wilshire Boulevard archetype—is transforming the ubiquitous driveway into a bona fide pocket park.

 

Every inch of marginal space was consolidated and orchestrated to create grand processional spaces, and new, found gardens.  The new stairs, ramps, benches, and gardens, provide efficient, accessible circulation and the space around the Church, creating a series of discrete places to walk, sit gather, and contemplate. 

 

In addition to providing a striking new setting for the Church, the austere beauty of concrete poured-in-place architecture and seamlessly integrated landscape provide a wonderful amenity for the parishioners and inhabitants of the senior housing complex. 

 

(LINK to Museum Without Walls)

 

 

Award of Excellence for “exceptional contribution” in the Landscape Architecture category, Los Angeles Business Council.  2011
Westside Prize, Westside Urban Forum. 2011

2011, Faith & Form, November, Scared Landscape
2011, FORM Magazine, December, Design Awards