3 Firms Are Finalists to Design Park at Cornfield Site in L.A.

Times Staff Writer

Design firms in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York have been named finalists in an unusual competition to develop a new state park at a former rail yard near downtown L.A.

Mia Lehrer and Associates of Los Angeles, Hargreaves and Associates of San Francisco and Field Operations of New York beat out 30 other design teams in the first phase of the contest, state parks administrators said Thursday. Each firm will receive a $25,000 stipend to help cover the cost of preparing a master plan for the 32-acre parcel east of Chinatown known as the Cornfield.

A selection committee cited Lehrer’s plan for a “living museum” that would make the park “a contemporary version of Ellis Island for the West Coast,” Hargreaves’ concept of “reconnection of a community to a forgotten area” and Field Operations’ plan for a “unified park that dramatically improves urban livability and redefines adjacent neighborhoods.”

The competition, held in conjunction with the State Parks Foundation, will continue with the finalists participating in a public workshop Aug. 26. The three master plan proposals will be unveiled for the selection committee at a public forum scheduled for Oct. 14.


Parks officials said the three competitors will work within guidelines established in light of more than three years of debate over what the proposed Los Angeles State Historic Park should include.

“We at state parks have never done this before,” said Ruth Coleman, of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. “This is truly an unprecedented and extremely creative method for seeking the best possible design for this park site.”