Ideas That Matter

Bunker Hill Steps

Lisa Gimmy
Bunker Hill Steps

 

Halprin stands in front of his rendering for Bunker Hill Steps.

By Jeff Graham, ASLA

 Los Angeles is often thought of as a horizontal city, but downtown’s Bunker Hill, which rises five stories above the adjacent business district, has always provided a connectivity challenge. Angel’s Flight, constructed in 1901, was an early attempt to solve the problem; Lawrence Halprin’s Bunker Hill Steps (1990) provide a robust pedestrian link between the two levels.

The opportunity to create the steps arose when developer Rob Maguire transferred air rights from the Central Library to an adjacent site. Architects Pei Cobb Freed created the Library Tower (now US Bank Tower), a graceful 73-story skyscraper. Space for the steps was carved out on the west side of the tower to connect Hope Street, to the north, with 5th Street and the Central Library to the south.


Robert Graham's Source Figure at the top Fountain.

Lawrence Halprin’s vision for the steps was based upon his visits to Italy and his experience of the vitality of the Spanish Steps. He adopted that vocabulary for Bunker Hill, developing a lively water feature that travels from the source fountain at the top, through two levels, to the basin below. He created gathering places at the two intermediate levels that feature a small cafe and retail. The perimeter of the steps is lined with flowering trees and colorful shrubs that soften the edge and create a human scale.


The final pool at 5th Street.

These 103 stairs not only provide an important and practical connection between these two districts, but also are a vital segment in Halprin’s Open Space Network for Los Angeles. Check back with us next week as we discuss an interior space within that network, Wells Fargo Court.

 

LINKS

The Cultural Landscape Foundation: Landscape as Catalyst: Lawrence Halprin's Legacy and Los Angeles

www.lglalandscape.com

 

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

info@lglalandscape.com

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.
RSS

Recent Posts


Archive


    Categories


    Tags

    Kun II Florence Knoll Lawrence Halprin multidisciplinary designer Rose N' Palm Kengo Kuma Ruth Adler Schnee Delta Bluegrass Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Allegra Fuller Snyder Jon and Liliane Lovelace TCLF Stinson Beach Loewy House Flowermaid Peter Walker landscape architecture in los angeles California natives Bunker Hill Steps Grand Eclair Landscape Architecture LIght/Breeze House Andre Le Notre Photography by Marion Brenner Martin Garden Wendell Burnette granite interiors Docomomo Award Garden Conservancy Courtney Coffman Nord Eriksson Ray Eames poppies Koffka/Phakos Design furniture rock Los Angeles Conservancy Heather Scott Peterson tropical planting Frank Lloyd Wright Marin Hindry House tablescape Hafley House Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre John Lautner Ralph Bacerra Craig Elwood Adolf Loos pool landscaping Palm Springs Modernism Native Mow Free 9-11 Memorial Gere Kavanaugh Opera on the Great Lawn Dominus Winery Virginia Robinson Gardens Lisa Boone Paulette Singley Richard Neutra Ralph Cornell, Malcolm Leland, Howard Troller, UCLA, Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden Cranbrook Academy of Art exhibition design graphic design toys Pamela Palmer Eugene Kinn Choy, Garden Dialogues, The Cultural Landscape Foundation Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture Landscape Sequence Jeffrey Dahl, John Wooden, Dustin Dorr, Rosemarie Allaire, Yoshikawa Carl Andre Edris House Thomas D. Church Howard Rosen fabrics mid century architecture Frank Gehry Pasadena Craftsman New York landscape architecture Jack Coyier Floating Teehouse Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency TheBlack Desert House Lovelace Pool George Hargreaves Cleo Baldon Maguire Gardens Annie Chu downtown Los Angeles First Point Construction garden design Wells Fargo Plaza Don Chadwick Deborah Sussman Albert Frey Max Palevsky House Craftsman Charles Waldheim FIDM Artecho MoMA, Museum of Modern Art Lisa Gimmy Kitchen for Exploring Foods Garden Dialogues Friends of Robinson Gardens Kaufman House Mission Revival Julius Shulman Grand Hope Park garden restoration Desert Courtyard House E. Stewart Williams Vaux le Vicomte California Preservation Foundation David Collins Ira Keller Fountain Bolinas garden color Oller & Pejic Denise Scott Brown Los Angeles Central Library Heineman and Heineman Elrod House Soils Solutions Native Bentgrass, Hafley House, Hindry House, Artificial Turf Villa Pisani Italy Nasher Sculpture Garden grasses Virginia Robinson Architect's Garden Lina Loos Grace Miller House Japanese gardens Leslie Cozzi Landscaping Herzog and de Meuron EPT Design Transforming Small Spaces, Intimate Courtyards, Custom Steel Gates, Velvet Elephant Ear, Kalanchoe Beharensis, Bluestone Pavers, Bourget Brothers, Moroccan Motif Isabelle Green, FASLA Darin Marten Open Days King Palm forest Los Angeles Times Barbara Lamprecht Landscape as Catalyst Garden of Sculpture mid century landscapes