Category Archives: Urbanism

The Year of the Parklet

Garcia's Parklet

2013 was an eventful year for us. Among many exciting developments, restaurant owners around Southern California took notice of the success of our parklets at Lola’s and Berlin and the parklet trend began to spread.

Our design for the first “curb café” in north San Diego county recently completed construction at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant in Carlsbad, CA. Occupying two diagonal parking spaces and seating 24, the design includes serape-inspired elements and is already a hit with owner and customers alike.

We currently have two more parklets on the boards, one incorporating a bioswale. We’re proud to be at the forefront of this growing trend, with each new parklet promising increased visibility as well as street vibrancy and a refreshing dining experience.

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.


Establishing Continuum: The Downey Arch


We were chatting with the inimitable critic, author and urban planner Sam Hall Kaplan recently about the great value of continuum in place making. My thoughts from that point forward were stuck on an archway in Downey. Over the years, Studio One Eleven has advised numerous cities throughout the region on architectural and urban design and, at the moment, we happen to be working on the Downey Civic Center Master Plan.

Creating a physical vision for any city, town or neighborhood allows us to take a closer look at its identity and how we might use the underlying character and values of a community to establish a meaningful and vibrant sense of place. In Downey, we lucked upon an archway to articulate a unique narrative for the city. As you explore our gallery below, notice how the Downey Archway allows us to connect (as good arches do), reinforce and enhance the civic center’s historical context with its evolving identity—reflected through place.

Studio One Eleven on OVERDRIVE

As Southern California museums and cultural organizations delve into Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., #PSTinLA, we’d like to explore our Studio One Eleven connections with the initiative. Those of particular interest:  the  complex and often underappreciated facets of Los Angeles post-war architecture that impacted the region’s residential fabric as well as its global identity. For this initial installment, Michael Bohn comments on the Getty’s inclusion of Carl Maston in the Getty’s OVERDRIVE: L.A. Constructs the Future 1940-1990.

S111 Principal Michael Bohn with his Carl Maston "Store Building" sketch.   Michael Bohn with his Store Building for Mrs. Ann McCreery + Mr. A.N. Hexter by Carl Maston.

Although a favorite of Studio One Eleven’s Michael Bohn, there’s little mention of the influential mid-century modernist architect Carl Maston (1915-1992) in a landscape dominated by the renowned names of Eames, Neutra and Lautner. Despite this, Maston’s stark modern style and inventive use of concrete structural solutions, can be seen in his 100+ works throughout Southern California—shopping centers, institutional buildings, private homes, and military housing units.
20130502_BohnMastonPSTMichael Bohn posing near Ray Kappe sketch (for Carl Maston) featured in Getty’s OVERDRIVE:  L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940-1990. (Photo by Ryan Miller Capture Imaging/Invision/AP).

Michael Bohn: What I discovered while talking to Architect Ray Kappe at the opening reception for Pacific Standard Time Overdrive exhibition is that Ray drew the sketch while working at Carl Maston’s firm! He told me he completed the drawing in a day.

20130503_Maston_DETAILDetail of Carl Maston’s Store Building for Mrs. Ann McCreery + Mr. A.N. Hexter. Click image to see sketch in full view.

Michael Bohn on his Maston: What I like best about this Maston sketch is that it features a group of retail shops reflecting a period that illustrates an architectural style—the signage, cars and dress on the people as well as the type of shops that were prevalent at the time such as the camera store and china shop.  A college friend and fellow architect, Brian Lane, gave me this Maston from his collection. If he wouldn’t have taken the drawings from Carl, they would have been dumped in the trash!


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


Drink It In: Parklets Come to San Diego County

San Diego County is about to get its first parklet. We’re developing a curb café design in downtown Carlsbad for Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant that will span two diagonal parking stalls and provide additional seating for up to 35 guests. The design will feature a rustic communal dining table, bright orange pots, and a banquet bench with bold, serape-inspired patterning. Garcia’s hopes to begin construction in the spring, once a general policy for curb cafés is adopted by the city.

Supported by Urban Place Consulting Group, the city’s urban design advisor, the proposed curb café parklet is viewed as a revitalization tool to help further invigorate the downtown.

To date, Studio One Eleven has designed all built parklets in Southern California.
Read about the hottest new urban planning trend here.