Category Archives: Community Involvement

Pop-Up Urbanism

Last November, Studio One Eleven proposed a bulb-out at the northwest corner of Third Street and Long Beach Boulevard complimented by a pedestrian island of refugee at the southwest corner adjacent to the cycle track. These elements will enhance pedestrian connectivity to the retail developing on both sides of Third Street, help calm traffic speeds, improve vehicular flow, and provide outdoor dining opportunities for future tenants.
Site plan for blog

The proposed design raised numerous questions and concerns from public agencies with particular concern from Long Beach Transit that their buses would be unable to make the southbound turn from Long Beach Boulevard onto Third Street. Due to construction adjacent to the intersection, a contractor coned off the curbside parking and one of the two lanes on Third Street.  Studio One Eleven architects documented via film and photography that buses were easily able to make the turn. After reviewing the documentation, both Public Works and Long Beach Transit agreed to mock up the proposed design and test the conditions with a bus with all stakeholders including Studio One Eleven present.

 

Studio One Eleven coned both the bulb-out and area of refugee and Long Beach Transit tested it several times with their bus. Everyone agreed the proposed design appeared feasible. Last month, Public Works informed Studio One Eleven that Long Beach Transit had approved our design for both the bulb-out and area of refugee. Sometimes you just have to create a concept “pop up” and field test the possibilities!

H20 Intervention

When working on community-based landscape beautification projects with limited budgets, we often help to procure materials and oversee plant placement. Irrigation can be a costly challenge and while this may be mitigated through smart design, including the use of drought-tolerant plants and other materials, street trees can be difficult to establish without watering systems. Hence our Studio One Eleven experiment with Treegator slow release watering bags. It takes five minutes to install the bag around the tree trunk and about a minute to fill with water. So give an urban tree a drink, already! The bag just needs to be refilled once a week and the entire neighborhood can pitch in if needed (take note, kids)! This does involve some participation but we think that this type of temporary irrigation may prove an effective and inexpensive way to help support the growth of new trees in an urban environment. We’ll keep you posted.

 

A Six-Year Grassroots Effort Planted in Time for Earth Day

A not-so-uncommon conversation between neighbors about the lack of pedestrian safety on their street escalated into an urban intervention that would reshape and green one of the busiest streets of their Long Beach, CA neighborhood. On Saturday, April 13, those neighbors: Studio One Eleven’s Michael Bohn and Long Beach Fire Chief Mike DuRee, together with over 200 Long Beach volunteers and Belmont Heights residents, completed a six-year grassroots effort to calm traffic and promote pedestrian activity across Broadway through new landscaped medians. The medians transferred one-third of an acre of asphalt into permeable landscape, reducing storm water run-off, to feature 6,600 plants such as agave, kangaroo paw, limonium and blue senecio over (almost) one-quarter mile. All in time for Earth Day.

Adding more green to the conversation: Belmont Heights residents successfully raised funds to cover the costs of irrigation and plant materials.

To learn more about this project, click the links below:

Long Beach Press Telegram:  Belmont Heights median project nears completion
LA Streetsblog: Belmont Heights Medians Are Complete with Slower Traffic and More Pedestrians

 



A Letter from Collage

Collage

Our mission at Studio One Eleven is to create more vibrant communities through an integrated practice of architecture, urbanism, and landscape design. Judging from the following letter, sent to us by a current resident at our Collage apartment project, we are accomplishing our goal one project at a time.

To whom it may concern,

I was one of the first people to move into Collage Apartments. Before I moved into my wonderful apartment home I was homeless with my daughter and pregnant with my son. We were staying in over-priced dirty motels. When I got a call for an interview to live at Collage, I was overjoyed. I watched Collage being built, and I thought “One day, I hope to live in a place as beautiful as that”. Now, I’m lucky to say that I DO live here, and my apartment overlooks the tot-lot where I can watch my daughter safely play as I am in the kitchen making dinner.

The look on my daughter’s face when I gave her the tour of Collage was unforgettable. All she could say was, “I love our new home, Mommy”. Our brand new apartment includes a refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. I am also thrilled to have a parking garage! We have barbeque grills, a tot lot, and a community garden where all the residents can grow their own vegetables. The gates around the property are always locked, and we even have a security guard at night. The police also patrol the area often, which has made the streets safer. We have access to a computer lab, resident services, and after school programs. One of the programs is for healthier eating and staying fit – my daughter and I look forward to being a part of that.

Our home is in the center of Long Beach and we are surrounded by parks. My daughter’s school is walking distance, and we are only 2 blocks from the Metro Train that we often use to take trips downtown to the beach, the movies, and Shoreline Village. A local grocery store is only 3 blocks away and they have a free van service to bring you home with your food and help you to your door.

These apartments are a wonderful blessing, not only to me but also to the community. I love that I can live in a beautiful place where I can pay the rent without any worries, and that I live so close to places that I can walk to. Living here makes me feel that I can accomplish anything. Thank you, Studio One Eleven, for my first real place I can call home.

Shakira

DJ Arkatekt Spins at AIA Design Awards

This year’s AIA Los Angeles Design Awards ceremony was not just any awards event. Set at the Broad Stage in the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center, guests comprised of some of the most influential decision makers in the city, including architects, civic leaders, media personalities, and journalists. Highlighting the event was DJ Moby, who introduced the 2012 Design Award winners. According to fellow attendees, “he was eloquent, funny, and turned out to be an even bigger architecture fan than we thought!”

However, the real highlight of the evening was the masterful spinning of Studio One Eleven’s own DJ Arkatekt!

“For me, this was one of the best events I’ve had the opportunity to spin because I was playing for my fellow Architects, as well as Moby himself. His album “Play” helped me get through my 3rd year of Architecture school. I don’t normally spin much electronic music, but Moby is definitely someone I admire as a musician and it was a privilege to have him as part of my audience.” said DJ Arkatekt, a.k.a. Eric Gomez, senior designer at Studio One Eleven. “It was fun being able to set the mood for the evening, before and after the actual awards ceremony. I was able to spin a lot of uptempo jazz & lounge type of music, which I don’t really get to play very often, and it influenced me to put together a “soundtrack” mix for the night which I will make available on my SoundCloud in the next few weeks.”

Moby, who is known for his sample-based electronic music, vegan lifestyle, and support of animal rights, recently started an architecture blog called Moby Los Angeles Architecture.

You can follow DJ Arkatekt on Facebook and download mixes on his SoundCloud.

AIA Series: The Future of Downtown Long Beach

Long Beach Civic Center (Photo by Wayne Thom via la.streetsblog.org.)

The AIA Long Beach/South Bay Chapter concluded a two-part discussion last week focusing on the future of the Long Beach Civic Center. Part 1 took place at the Aquarium of the Pacific on September 10, and Part 2 was hosted at the Studio One Eleven offices on October 15. Central to the discussion was whether or not the Long Beach Civic Center, bound by Ocean/Broadway and Magnolia/Pacific, should be re-conceived to instill a greater sense of place and civic pride.

Moderated by architect Rick D’Amato, Part 1 set the tone and context; guest speakers included librarian and historian Maureen Neely, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, Studio One Eleven’s Alan Pullman, and Donald Gibbs, one of the architects involved in the design of the Civic Center we have today. Part 2 featured Studio One Eleven’s Michael Bohn, architect Nader Ghassemlou, and Ultra-Unit Architectural Studio’s Cameron Crocket, who each presented conceptual approaches for the site.

L.A. Streetsblog covered both Part 1 and Part 2 of the discussion. More regarding Part 1 can also be found on greaterlongbeach.com.

Continuing to focus on the future of downtown, AIA Long Beach/South Bay will next host a discussion to address one of the most important corners in our city: the intersection of Pine Ave. and Ocean Blvd. This event will take place Wednesday, October 24, at 7 p.m. at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Tickets, set at $5 each, are currently available by visiting www.aialb-sb.org/events.