Mia Lehrer Wins Competition to Design New FAB Park in LA

School News

Mia Lehrer Wins Competition to Design New FAB Park in LA

July 05, 2016

Landscape faculty member Mia Lehrer was recently announced as the winner of a competition to design what is being called “FAB Park” in Downtown Los Angeles. Lehrer and her eponymous firm, Mia Lehrer + Associates partnered with Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and San Francisco-based IDEO for their proposal for the new public park slated to transform a vacant lot at First and Broadway.


OMA’s contribution includes a two-story restaurant with a rooftop garden and sculptural tree-shaped shade canopies. These canopies also include photovoltaics to capture solar energy while complementing Lehrer’s clusters of native oak and sycamore trees. IDEO’s role was to develop the park’s user-experience design.


Lehrer’s firm was responsible for the overall landscape design and strategy, which will occupy a two-acre site owned by the Department of Recreation and Parks. The prominently located site, adjacent Grand Park, was once the site of a state office building. The City purchased the site in 2013 and designated it for park development under the Department of Recreation and Park’s 50 Parks Initiative. The goal of this initiative, launched in 2009, is to significantly increase the number of parks in densely populated neighborhoods throughout the city.


Lehrer’s team won because of its emphasis on shade, a balance of hard and soft spaces, and its approach to capturing and treating storm water. The design also takes a human-centered approach, integrating the landscape experience with proposed built elements like OMA’s two-story restaurant. Outdoor wooden bleachers, shaded from a cantilevering floor above, run through part of the restaurant’s ground floor. The design also includes a series of shaded outdoor rooms designed for small gatherings, food fairs, farmers markets, art installations, and other civic events.


The park is set to be complete by 2019, but city officials who have been running the project say this winning design may not be the one that ultimately gets built. According to LA Times architecture critic, Christopher Hawthorne, the city was more interested in picking a winning team they could work with to develop a final scheme. If the entire plan goes ahead, in one version or another, it will be OMA’s first completed project in the city of Los Angeles.