Last week marked an event 10 years in the making: the opening of the Manazar Gamboa Community Theater at Homeland Cultural Center in Long Beach’s MacArthur Park. We started this project early in the evolution of Studio One Eleven and, despite an extremely tight budget, multiple funding delays, and changes in staff and programming, the city’s tireless energy and the needs of the community pushed us forward to completion.
Located in one of the densest and most diverse parts of the city, the building is a small black box theater and community art gallery that has been added to the existing center adjacent to the public library. Our design was developed through a series of town hall meetings where we learned about the goals and needs of this unique area. We also learned that the budget only supported a simple, yet durable, building, and that the community must be able to use it in a variety of ways. Within the constraints, however, we strove to provide a civic presence: two dynamic, opposed, sloping roof forms address both the Anaheim Street frontage and the park orientation, while the performances within the theater will complement the rich programming already staged by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Continue reading
Studio One Eleven has been working with two businesses on Long Beach’s Retro Row to develop the very first parklet program in Southern California. Similar programs are beginning to flourish in New York and San Francisco, so we are excited to have the opportunity to try one in our own hometown.
But what exactly is a parklet?
Well, a parklet is a “sidewalk oasis” that is built into the stalls of parallel parking spots in order to create more pedestrian space. Parklets extend the width of the sidewalk and usually occupy 1-2 parking spaces, with planters and railing providing separation from the street. They are most often treated as additional dining room space for restaurants, but can be used for anything from bike racks to benches.
The parklets we are creating are for two restaurants on 4th Street: Number Nine and Lola’s Authentic Mexican Cuisine.
Over the past weekend, Studio One Eleven and Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) hosted a public workshop for a traffic calming plan in the Virgil Village area of LA. To illustrate our point, we created a temporary plaza by shutting down a turn pocket at the southwest corner of Virgil Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The event drew nearly a hundred participants and provided the design team with a wealth of valuable information from community members who navigate Virgil Avenue on a daily basis.
The idea to convene our workshop in this temporary plaza was developed to break away from the usual format of most community outreach forums; instead of holding an evening meeting in a community center removed from the subject at hand, we chose to engage the public where the relevant issues could be discussed more tangibly. Essentially, we wanted an event that reached more constituents – specifically the ones who are directly affected by the current conditions. Continue reading