Sunset Junction

Client: City of Los Angeles

Program: Urban Event Space

Size: 2000 sq ft

Budget: Withheld upon owner's request

Completion Date: June 1st 2011 competition

Built: Unbuilt

Material: Steel, fiberglass

Architect: Herwig Baumgartner, Scott Uriu

Team: Kainoa Westermark, Alice Leung

Sunset Junction
Sunset Junction—one of Silver Lake’s major gateways—is a place that is widely known for its long history of civil and political courage, for its flourishing art and music scenes, as a neighborhood full of architectural icons, and as an eclectic community. In short, it is a place renowned for its otherness and for cultivating the “different.”

With this in mind, we designed this permanent installation and plaza as a place of confluence for the diverse, multifaceted, and creative community of Silver Lake. We believe that the design can come to symbolize the city’s strong sense of community and neighborhood. Our design is composed of a colorful ambient figure—rising from a grass and wild flower-lined meadow—that redefines the entrance to Silver Lake at Sunset Junction. The design is composed of two elements, a Parasol and a California Meadow.

The Parasol is a sculptural object that performs as both a sign for Silver Lake itself and as a canopy that provides sun protection for the community space below. The California Meadow, a natural landscape and gathering place for the Silver Lake community, can also be used as a performance area during the yearly Sunset Junction festival.

The Parasol is composed of recycled acrylic panels that attach to a steel frame. The acrylic panels themselves are semitransparent with a gradient, color silkscreen print. Energy-efficient LED lighting, powered by solar panels at the very top that create sufficient energy while establishing a zero-energy footprint, illuminates the sculpture at night.

The landscape concept for the California Meadow features a field of grasses and wild flowers that bring a natural and peaceful feeling to this urban junction. The Meadow, raised above the street level and therefore removed from traffic areas, provides people with a nice refuge. Tall grasses swaying in the wind; the smell of jasmine and wild flowers; and wooden benches protected from the sun by the colorful Parasol that creates playful shadows on the ground all contribute to an idyllic, peaceful environment. The paved surfaces of the Meadow are designed to collect rainwater that is recycled and used for the irrigation of the garden. The plants selected for the Meadow are each native to California and require little water.