Quilt Forest

Andrea Binz, MLA+3 ’22

  • SP.20
  • Level: graduate
  • Discipline: Landscape Architecture
  • Program: MLA +3
  • Instructor: Takako Tajima

In this project, a successional urban forest on the theme of the word “quilt” is proposed for MacArthur Park, a 33-acre site in Los Angeles, CA.

The qualities of a quilt were explored through process models, examining the juxtaposition of materials, colors, and textures as well as the undulation of the fabric itself. Based on the final process model, each layer of overlapping polygons was assigned a growth condition (slow growing vs. fast-growing and long-lived vs. short-lived). Over 100 years, a successional forest develops in the form of a patchwork quilt, where quadrants emerge and fade based on the natural life cycles of the trees. Mass plantings of Californian native trees give a unique character to each patch.

Along patch borders, a series of decomposed granite paths offer visitors a multitude of experiences and paths of travel, like a jumble of modern pattes-d’oie. A wider, concrete loop provides fire access and a comfortable walking route while recalling the lake circuits that have been a prominent feature of MacArthur Park since its opening in 1890. Intimate unpaved trails cut through the patches. Retention and detention basins follow the geometry of the patches and filter stormwater from both the site and local watershed.