I have just contracted with Rutgers University Press for the publication of What Works: Placemaking in Bryant Park. Revitalizing Cities, Towns and Public Spaces in the Spring of 2019. I am so fortunate to be working with the experienced publishing professionals Peter Mikulas and Micah Kleit on this project.
The proposed Pershing Square Renew/Agence Ter design with the shade structure at the rear.
At about the same time I went to work for Bryant Park Restoration Corporation (BPRC) in 1991 a similar project was underway on the West Coast. Pershing Square, the oldest public space in Los Angeles, was also the subject of a major downtown revitalization effort. In 1992, Pershing Square was closed for a $14.5 million re-design and renovation by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and Philadelphia-based Hanna Olin Design. Hanna Olin was also the landscape design firm engaged for Bryant Park. The “new” Pershing Square opened in 1994. Shortly after it was completed, I visited Pershing Square and found it to be hot, dusty and deserted – essentially the roof of the parking garage located under the park. Over the past two decades, while Bryant Park had become New York’s “town square” and the stimulus to billions of dollars in redevelopment, mostly inert Pershing Square has been a drag on efforts to revitalize Downtown LA. The square sits between the glass and steel office center of modern LA and the rapidly changing original LA downtown of loft buildings of brick, limestone and terracotta. It’s fascinating to see how much positive activity is happening one or two blocks away from the square – without it as anchor. Continue reading →