Monthly Archives: April 2014

Studio One Eleven Creates a “Long Beach Display Garden” at the 2014 Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition

Ariel view of Studio One Eleven’s “Long Beach Display Garden” design at the 2014 Expo.

LONG BEACH, CA (April 18, 2014) – The 2014 Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition, commencing on April 25th and continuing through October is being hailed as the “Olympics for the international horticultural community.” The goal of such gathering is to promote the economic, cultural, and technical exchanges throughout the world and to showcase globally diverse advancements in the horticultural realm. Here, countries express their culture and history through their own displays of horticultural mastery, all pertaining to the theme or core concepts of the international exposition. An estimated 12 million visitors are expected to view the cultural show at this year’s exposition in Qingdao, China.

Studio One Eleven’s Involvement in the Qingdao Expo
The theme for this year’s expo is “From the earth, for the earth,” which is conveyed through a number of internationally diverse gardens making up over 405 acres of presentation space. Kirk Keller, Senior Designer and leader of the landscape architecture group within Studio One Eleven at P+R Architects, collaborated with the firm’s Shanghai office and members of the Qingdao International Horticultural Executive Committee to produce a design evocative of the culture and ethos of Long Beach (a sister city of Qingdao) and translatable for the “World Horticultural Stage.”

“Our design reflects the human experience in relationship to the earth. The garden allows for a symbiotic relationship with people – interacting and engaging in the outdoors as an extension of their living space. The indoor/outdoor relationship, particularly in our climate, is fluid with no line of demarcation between the two. Thus, people intermingle in their indoor living spaces as they do in the outdoors. The garden justly becomes another room for people to inhabit.”

Kirk and the Studio One Eleven team worked intimately with P+R Architects’ Shanghai office to produce a design evocative of the culture and ethos of Long Beach (a sister city of Qingdao). The mild climate affords the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors nearly year-round which consequently has influenced both housing designs and lifestyles. The display space will be divided into five garden zones. Each zone represents a significant historical period of Long Beach highlighting the ‘outdoor room’. The zones emulate the relationship between the environment and the use of garden space through planting design (native and non-native species), shelter and open spaces for gathering.

For further details about the event please visit the Qingdao Exposition’s Website.

At Last Café Opening – Contributing to the Urban Face of Downtown Long Beach

At Last Café with new bulb-out and bioswale.

LONG BEACH, CA, (March 27, 2014) – The latest contribution to Long Beach’s incremental urbanism movement is a pedestrian bulb-out and bioswale garden, located adjacent to the At Last Café at the northeast corner of Orange and 2nd Street. The project represents the most recent endeavor by Studio One Eleven and the City to repurpose road space and enhance the urban environment — capturing rainwater, beautifying the streets and improving pedestrian safety. This effort follows two other sidewalk bulb-outs which have recently been completed along First Street in the East Village and Broadway in Belmont Heights. However, the At Last Café bulb-out is unique in that it is the first of its kind to combine a working bioswale with active outdoor dining. With this latest installation, At Last Café will join Lola’s, Café Berlin, and Utopia in an business expansion approach that contributes to slowing traffic, makes neighborhoods safer and encourages the pedestrian and cycling experience.

Michael Bohn, a Principal and Director of Design at Studio 111, notes that he views the At Last Café project as a form of “tactical urbanism,” a grassroots approach to bettering the community through immediate, cost effective action. “We’re pushing sustainability to the forefront of the public realm. We want to make immediate improvements to areas that may not have the resources to do so for themselves.” What started as a community effort by the City of Long Beach to improve the public realm has turned into a means of introducing sustainability by design. Through the At Last Café bulb-out design, Bohn sees the potential that similar projects will have on the community as a whole: “We’re taking streets, leveraging them for multiple uses, but more importantly, we’re energizing areas and creating places”

Charlie Gandy, Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, designer Michael Bohn, Café owners Ria and John McLaughlin and family.

Studio One Eleven helped pioneer the Long Beach Parklet Program in 2012, designing the first parklet in Southern California in front of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in the heart of Long Beach’s Retro Row. The goal of the project was to introduce a new view on urbanism and complete streets, focused on better utilizing overlooked or neglected urban spaces to improve the community. By repurposing parking spots in front of a business for additional outdoor seating, the parklet effectively widened the sidewalk and created opportunities for increased seating capacity without requiring extensive renovation of existing buildings. In the case of Lola’s (and Café Berlin), this has proven to translate to an influx of new customers and greater revenue for business owners while minimizing investment. The At Last Café in a public/private partnership with the City will be utilizing the extra space created by the bulb out for 40 new seats -doubling the amount of occupants their restaurant can currently hold. Owner John McLaughlin anticipates that this expansion will require the business to hire additional employees to serve the anticipated increase in customers, stimulating the local economy and creating jobs.

Curb extensions, or “bulb-outs” are designed to beautify the city and improve pedestrian safety, and are usually completed through the Public Works Department of the City of Long Beach. Whereas parklets are paid for by retailers and built upon a temporary foundation of pedestals anywhere along a street to keep them even with the sidewalk, bulb-outs are permanent extensions of the curb at street intersections or mid-block locations, and require extensive engineering. These curb extensions reduce the street width for vehicles, slow traffic speeds and decrease the cross-walk distance for a safer travel from one side of the street. Ironically, the narrower street and faster pedestrian crossing times also results in increased traffic flow.

Supported by the City of Long Beach’s Office of Sustainability, the bulb-out at the At Last Café features a bioswale which is engineered to capture rain water that percolates back into the ground, intercepting and treating polluted street run-off before it enters the storm water system and eventually the ocean. To add to its aesthetic beauty, a garden of drought tolerant plants will populate the design. The bio-swale/bulb-out design is at the forefront of a sustainable approach to the urbanism fostered and pioneered by the City of Long Beach and Studio One Eleven.

The At Last Café at 204 Orange Avenue opened the new curb extensions and outdoor seating to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 29th, just in time for diners to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. This public/private partnership is anticipated to pave the way for additional sustainable urbanism efforts throughout the City of Long Beach, and continued revitalization of the city, making it a more livable environment for all to enjoy.

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At Last Café owners John and Ria McLaughlin.