American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA) Southern California recently honored LPA with an Award of Honor for the landscape design of the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) and Preschool, a net zero educational center in Newport Beach California, and an Award of Merit for Flyte, a creative corporate campus in El Segundo, California.
ASLA’s annual Quality of Life Awards celebrate outstanding works of landscape architecture and environmental planning that promote an enhanced quality of life.
The design of the ENC and Preschool creates an escape to the natural world, with educational components for youth and the community. The underutilized land was converted from a dumping ground for the nearby high school into a living nature laboratory. As you enter the campus, visitors are immediately greeted by elements of the regional landscape. The five-acre site features 15 California plant communities, a stream and nature walk that teaches visitors about native plants and their importance to biodiversity as well as rainwater collection and reuse – putting sustainable practices on display. Each of the main outdoor learning spaces at the Preschool are designed, named and inspired by three of California’s national parks: Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Sequoia. Both the Nature Center and Preschool are net zero and LEED Platinum certified.
“Our focus was on making the site self-sustaining and immersive, while giving back to the community without interrupting it,” Kari Kikuta, Director of Landscape Architecture at LPA, said. “The result is a place for young minds to learn and the community to enjoy, surrounded by the beauty of natural ecosystems.”
The revitalization of Flyte replaced a larger, underutilized lawn area adjacent to three office towers with a multi-use garden and courtyard. Boldly patterned walkways lead visitors into a mix of gardens, alcoves, and decks that provide a variety of diverse spaces for dining, relaxing, playing and working. There are intimate seating areas for small gatherings, large communal fire pits and a shade structure with hanging chairs, as well as an outdoor office pod, a dining deck, a food kiosk, an amphitheater and a play court. A series of perforated metal surfaces act as a fifth façade, contrasting with the towers’ rectilinear geometry. A focus on sustainability inspired plant selection that required minimal irrigation. The planting design also provided natural shading to reduce the heat-island effect in conjunction with the use of light color paving materials. Ware Malcomb was the design architect on the project.
“With the diversity of programmed spaces designed into the courtyard and garden, this space provides areas for tenants to hold a meeting, host a social event or enjoy a moment of solitude,” Rocio Gertler, Design Director of Landscape Architecture at LPA, said. “Lighting was a critical component in creating an inviting space, no matter the time of day.”