High Line designer wins park job in Santa Monica


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This qualifies as very good news for fans of ambitious landscape architecture, not to mention for residents of Santa Monica: Field Operations, the superb landscape and urban design firm that collaborated with architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro on the acclaimed High Line elevated park in Manhattan, has prevailed in a high-powered design competition for a 7-acre park in the heart of the Santa Monica Civic Center. Santa Monica’s principal architect, Miriam Mulder, confirmed the news in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Field Operations, a firm led by James Corner and based in New York, beat out five other teams vying for the commission, which includes a 1-acre park in front of Santa Monica City Hall, to be called Town Square, and an adjacent 6-acre parcel, known as Palisades Garden Walk, between Main Street and Ocean Avenue.


Of the six competitors for the park job, Field Operations was the only one without an architecture firm attached. It beat out entrants including Frank Gehry and a team made up of landscape architect Peter Walker and architect Frederick Fisher.

The jury included Qingyun Ma, dean of the USC School of Architecture; Ken Smith, the landscape architect who is leading the design team for the Orange County Great Park; and Marc Fisher, campus architect at UC Santa Barbara. The Santa Monica City Council is expected to approve the choice of Field Operations next month.

Much more to come.

--Christopher Hawthorne