“We want people to have several ways of experiencing the park,” said Associate Partner Lisa Switkin, who added that “the topography gives it a very clear structure.”
The sinuous, braided, and often hilly project was inspired largely by the Arroyo Wash, a dried riverbed that once ran through the site. According to Switkin, plants will be plentiful and varied, an effort to diversify the city’s limited vegetation and to emphasize Southern California’s subtle seasons. Trees will include Western Sycamores, Torre Pines, Ficus, Oaks, and Strawberries; and other plants will include four- to five-foot tall wild grasses, native wildflowers, and several types of succulents.
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In order to draw people in from a congested area near several major streets and even a freeway, the firm has created notable architectural elements. Most will be made of stainless steel slats and complemented with curved precast concrete benches. The most dramatic will be the large clamshell-shaped steel viewing platforms located on the Grand Bluff.
“You have so many other attractions in Santa Monica. The Palisades Park, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Third Street Promenade. This begged for a new and unique identity,” pointed out Switkin. The project will go to the city council for a vote this June. Construction is expected to start next spring, with completion by spring 2013.