Ideas That Matter

An Open Space Sequence in Los Angeles?

Lisa Gimmy



Published by Lisa Gimmy, ASLA, LEED AP


The pioneering work of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin will be explored at “Landscape as Catalyst,” an upcoming seminar at the A + D Museum to be held on November 4, 2017.

During his fifty-year career Halprin designed many well-loved places. He is perhaps best known for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, and for the amazing participatory fountains he designed for Portland, Oregon. Pictured above is the Ira Keller Fountain, photographed by Jeremy Bittermann.
The fountains in Portland were commissioned by the city’s redevelopment agency with the goal of revitalizing downtown Portland, and were constructed between 1966 and 1970. Today, these landscapes are under the stewardship of the Halprin Foundation.

Halprin built on the idea of a landscape sequence in the work he did in Los Angeles, for the Community Redevelopment Agency and then for developer Robert Maguire. This sketch below shows the idea of two of the public spaces, the garden at the Central Library and the Bunker Hill Steps, connected by a richly landscaped Grand Avenue.

“The Los Angeles Open Space Network” drawing by Lawrence Halprin. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The University of Pennsylvania.


While the plan for Grand Avenue wasn’t realized, Halprin did build four landscapes in downtown Los Angeles. In our next blogs, we’ll feature these places: Grand Hope Park, Wells Fargo Plaza, Maguire Gardens and the Bunker Hill Steps.

To learn more about the Halprin exhibit The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin, click here. For more information about the seminar “Landscape as Catalyst: Lawrence Halprin’s Legacy and Los Angeles,” and to register, click here.

Writer and Media Management Consultant Taylor Van Arsdale provided research and contributed to this article.

Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture

Helms Bakery Building
8800 Venice Blvd., Suite 216
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Phone: (310) 202-8320
Fax: (310) 202-8350

Creating landscapes for California living



Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture is a professional consulting firm offering master planning, site planning, and landscape design. Since its founding in 1992, LGLA has designed landscapes for schools, campuses, boutique hotels, buildings, public parks, estates, and private residences. At LGLA each project is viewed as an opportunity to explore a series of relationships: between the site and the region, architecture and landscape, and most importantly, between the landscape and the people who will use and enjoy it.

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