Pershing Square is one of those fascinating Downtown parks that everyone and no one visits. It’s not very neighborhoody but it totally is and there’s not really much to do there but there is a lot to do. The design of the space is fascinating and one that was created by late Mexican modernist architect Ricardo Legorreta—but it’s often seen as a little too dated. Well, some people want to change the historic square—and the folks at Figueroa based architecture firm Gensler have an idea to radically change it.
The firm has shared a new perspective for the park, one that completely rethinks it as a public space in Downtown Los Angeles. They acknowledge that the square is a place in constant flux and something needs to be done to make it the dream park we’ve always wanted it to be. Working toward the goal of bringing the square back to the idea of “a place that cultivates the exchange and expression of thoughts and ideas,” the group breaks the park down by what it needs and what it can be in a really sleek video (which you can see below). Their concept—which is genius—repurposes the Square to be what we want it to be, which is something that LA parks have been missing: there will be food there and spaces to gather and spaces to play and spaces to encounter visual or performing arts, on a permanent or impermanent basis. Their vision of the park is a futuristic hang out zone that would hopefully coddle that specific part of Downtown becoming a destination for eating, drinking, fun, and friends: that is exactly what Pershing Square needs.
It would be sad to see Legorreta’s very early nineties architectural chic structures go but a total rethinking of the square is what the neighborhood needs. Imagine if Pershing Square had a makeover and rejuvenation not too dissimilar to Echo Park Lake? That would be fantastic. If anyone can do this, it’s Gensler. We’ve been in their crazy cool office and—judging from this super solid pitch—there are no doubts that they can accomplish the task. Gensler took on the task of Pershing Square thanks to an invitation to help solve the area’s problems by Councilmember José Huizar: it would not be surprising to see this space undergo some wild changes.