Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

3/27/2011

What happened: deLab at (fer) studios

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

It was a cold and gloomy day (riffing off Bulwer-Lytton), but about 30 people sat inside a warehouse-type of studio to hear (fer) studios principals Douglas V. Pierson and Christopher L. Mercier talk about their efforts to revitalize downtown Inglewood.

As the two explained their masterplan, sustainable features, connectivity aspects and all, I certainly got a sense how much pushing the team had to do just to keep the hope for their masterplan alive. Pierson and Mercier began the "Inglewood masterplan saga" as I will call it from now on, when they first heard that Inglewood would have a a connection to the upcoming extension of the city’s Expo light rail line. It was a trivial detail to some, but for these two, it was a moment of possible salvation for Market Street, a once-thriving but now neglected part of Inglewood.

Spurred by nothing more than enthusiasm (and perhaps a whole lot of entrepreneurial drive), the two put together a hasty masterplan proposal, which then became even more fleshed out the longer time passed. The hazy proposal became a full-blown competition submission and now...Well, we don't know.

Daniel Tabor, their staunch ally, recently resigned. The whole city government is also in a constant state of flux, reports Mercier. It's hard to get buy-in from movers and shakers when the people that can make decisions keep changing. Nevertheless, it seems that (fer) studios will keep on pushing; good news for Inglewood.

The team, who were the brains behind Kentucky's LEED (perhaps) Platinum Green Building, presented ambitious plans. I think my favorite aspects of it were:

  • The undulating green screen that presents a unified whole when viewed from afar. Wouldn't it be great to be greeted with greenery instead of steel when coming to a transportation hub?
  • The two also talked about how the hub would tightly integrate pedestrian, bike and subway connections. Bikes would be able to enter and easily go down to the Metro. Pedestrians would have a great green space to hang out in (not just wait for the next train to come). Of course, the Metro would keep ferrying people in and out.
Photo from Archpaper

Kudos to Doug and Chris for their fortitude. I only hope their hard work and persistence pays off.

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