Pimugna/Wrigley Plaza

Héctor Covarrubias del Cueto


Pimugna was the name the Tongva people gave this island. They were the best adapted and the most harmonious of all the people to ever set foot on that island. Evidence supports this balanced equation. Oblivious to its uniqueness and relevance, the following visitors disturbed this island for generations. Various activities flourished and perished on the island. Fortunes were lost. Parts of the ecosystem of the island astonishingly survived and are now protected and recovering. The Wrigley Institute is leading this effort. It is the closest any visitor of the island has come to the relation the Tongva people had with the island. The conservation and preservation relationship restored at a certain point with the presence of the institute and the commemoration of the predecessors on the ideology behind the Institute give the plaza its name: Pimugna/Wrigley Plaza.

Pimugna is an island that was pushed out of the ocean, not cut off from mainland. It has a very unique geographical-biological composition. It is composed of four types of rock and hosts a large amount of very special specimens of rare and unique species, genres and families of organisms. On this island, orientation of faces determines the distribution of vegetation greatly. Points of confluence of planes on the island that present different orientations represent an opportunity for the viewer to recognize different landscapes that each orientation hosts. The USC campus is very structured in its typologies. Vegetation, building aesthetics and paving systems stay consistent throughout. For the conformation of the plaza a module present on campus of 6’ x 4’ was employed to structure the plaza. Synthetic elements push out from the ground to create and differentiate the new “island” emerging from the campus ground. The resulting sloped planes converge in the center of the plaza, allowing for each different aspect relative to the sun to host specimens adequate to their predilection of orientation and position on the island.