USC Landscape Architecture Students Propose New Uses for Santa Monica Airport

School News

USC Landscape Architecture Students Propose New Uses for Santa Monica Airport

October 21, 2014


USC Landscape Architecture student work proposing new uses for the Santa Monica Airport will be exhibited at the Writers Boot Camp Gallery, Bergamot Station, on Thursday, October 23, 6-9 pm.


“Reimagining Santa Monica Airport – Part 1” features work from Christopher Sison, Chen Liu, Zeek Magallanes, and Yongdan Chunyu, all students from a USC graduate landscape architecture studio taught by Aroussiak Gabrielian. The exhibit is sponsored by Airport2Park, a coalition supporting the creation of a park on the land that is currently the Santa Monica Airport.


First used informally as a landing strip by pilots flying WWI biplanes, the 227-acre site was the home of the Douglas Aircraft Company, and in the 1970s, it became a general aviation airport, currently serving about 300 people daily who fly privately. As the airport is surrounded on all sides by residential areas, noise and air pollution have long been local community issues. In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration’s agreement with the City of Santa Monica keeping the airport operational expires, and Santa Monica residents and community groups such as Airport2Park are working to ensure the airport becomes a public park.


“The site offered a plethora of tangible issues that students could engage, while at the same time, I set a broad conceptual framework to allow the students to work imaginatively in constructing an entirely new future,” said Gabrielian. “The results were very diverse and transformative and can begin to allow the public to imagine a new vision for the current site.”


Airport2Park organized an extensive site visit for the students (in their second semester at USC and without a previous design background) and offered feedback during midterm and final reviews. The exhibit was curated by Professor Michael Brodsky of Loyola Marymount University and founding member of Airport2Park.


‘’What is amazing about getting students involved in projects that address sites currently in transition, like the airport site, is the capacity of their visions to affect policy change, as well as provide advocacy of worthwhile community efforts through design speculation,” said Gabrielian.


The exhibit is for one night only. For more information, visit Part two of the exhibition, displaying the work of the other half of the studio, will go up in January 2015.


Christopher Sison