Situated on 7.4 acres between City Hall, the I-10 freeway, and Santa Monica's iconic palm tree lined Ocean Avenue, Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square have transformed a derelict and flat parking lot into lush landscape of rolling hills, swales, Mediterranean meadow gardens, and active urban spaces.
Design and sustainability come together in this project to produce a new type of urban landscape that is active, innovative, resource-conscious and ecologically rich. Shaped by extensive public participation, the design redefines the center of Santa Monica, re-connects the city fabric, and features a dynamic topography of rolling hills, meadows and gardens. The project's sustainability is boldly evident not only in its ecology, use of water, energy, and materials; but also in its social vibrancy.
Inspired by the Southern California arroyo landscape of washes and ravines that once defined the site, a series of braided pathways emerge from the footsteps of City Hall, extend west to Ocean Avenue and weave the park into the fabric of the City. Water and architectural features, a rich material palette, and lush planting reinforce the site's "arroyo wash" history and create an identity unique to Santa Monica. Dramatic topography reinforces the fluid pathway system and organizes the site into four thematic areas:
- Garden Hill: display gardens and intimate alcoves,
- Discovery Hill: a play-space for children,
- Observation Hill: framed iconic views of the city and ocean,
- Gathering Hill: a large open space for the community to come together.