Another LA discovery the other day was the new Grand Park. I was just driving through downtown and saw the burst of color from the fountain, then realized I had read about its opening while I was overseas. I pulled over to check it out. Grand Park spans from the Music Center to City Hall. The main focus of the park is the renovated Arthur Will Memorial Fountain at the top of the park. I remember the fountain from when it was a smaller park of a more mid-century modern design, and I have to admit I'm sad to see that design abandoned. But the old park was tucked away and hidden by other structures, and was always empty. The new larger park connects the old park area along with two other new areas that I think used to be parking lots, creating a bigger open space anchored by other signature spaces of LA. The lower third of the park was not yet opened, but looked to be close to completion. I can't say that I loved the space as a whole - it felt disjointed and seemed to have some strange features that created strange interruptions of flow, but at the same time I appreciate that a dead zone has now been transformed. One of my favorite things about Grand Park is that it unintentionally gives a starring role to one of my favorite buildings downtown: the Department of Water & Power's John Ferraro Building by AC Martin. Overall, the park is still a good idea and a step in a good direction. It will be interesting to see how it develops and evolves.
[apologies for blog posts before 11/2008 that are not yet updated to format]