ArtCenter College of Design will exhibit student concepts for reimagining the Arroyo Seco at Pasadena’s Central Library through May 25. The exhibit culminates the work of Environmental Design students following a prompt set forth by the Arroyo Advisory Group, a citizen-led effort to develop a cohesive vision for the Arroyo Seco and an implementation plan based on best practices and public input.
The Arroyo Advisory Group, of which ArtCenter Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. and ArtCenter President Lorne M. Buchman are members, called upon ArtCenter students to help reimagine how the Arroyo’s natural habitats, resources, and historic sites could be preserved, enhanced, and connected by a potentially extraordinary end-to-end trail system—effectively creating a singular vision for the canyon’s three distinct areas: the Hahamongna watershed, the central Arroyo’s recreation hub, and the rivers of the lower Arroyo.
Environmental Design Department Chair David Mocarski and Professor James Meraz, quickly realized the task was in perfect alignment with their Sustainable Design Studio course, the goal of which is to create a heightened awareness in sustainability and ecological issues, and to create innovative solutions for present and forward thinking scenarios. “The projects developed by Art Center’s Environmental Design Studio are somewhat provocative suggestions of how the Arroyo Seco can be reimagined and enhanced for the next generation of users,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. “I encourage the public to visit the Central Library exhibit and see for themselves the many ways in which the Arroyo evokes inspiration in others.”
“This project gave our students an incredible opportunity to engage with community members and learn about the history and daily use of one of our cherished, natural resources,” said Mocarski. “In this course, we encourage students to design unique spatial experiences that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and environmentally responsible, with the potential to encourage a critical dialogue and a new stewardship and symbiosis in our relationship to our Southern California eco-system.”
Meraz, who led the class and curated the library exhibit, added, “The Pasadena Central Library offers us a fantastic, community-oriented space to exhibit our student projects. Our students’ enthusiasm for the project is evident in their careful research and thoughtful design solutions, resulting in four diverse design narratives that celebrate and elevate this vital ecological zone with sustainable wayfinding trail systems, pavilion structures, hardscape, furniture, and lighting for an enriched nature experience. We hope their designs inspire the next evolution of the great Arroyo.”
The projects on display include:
-Ancient Waters by Heidi Hou and Li Liu. Inspired by the Tongva, Ancient Waters introduces visitors to these early settlers and their symbiotic relationship with our natural resources through a series of compelling installations and trail systems.
-Petram by Hannah Kwon and Andres Zavala. Petram is a new ecosystem, a microarchitecture born as an initiative to establish a contrasting relationship between humans and their macro surroundings in nature, to encourage exploration, relaxation, and contemplation.
-River Stories by Ashely Chen and Julie Lin. An interactive timeline is embedded within the trail system, providing a truly immersive experience into the history of the Arroyo Seco, allowing visitors to discover the region’s River Stories and its heritage of life.
-Tri-Seco by Yerin Bang and Larry Zhan. Tri-Seco creates a relationship between the three diverse areas of the Arroyo on a phenomenological level, in context with surrounding natural elements and embedding an iconic symbol of each part of the Arroyo into the design.
Central Library is located at 285 E Walnut Street in Pasadena. The exhibit will be on display through May 25, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
While ArtCenter exhibits these concepts at the library, The Arroyo Advisory Group is embarking on two important phases of the One Arroyo project. The first is a fundraising assessment to determine the likelihood of philanthropy’s ability to help sustain the Arroyo into the future. And for the second, the City recently approved Arroyo Advisory Group’s recommendation to implement a concept created by HR&A consulting group to demonstrate what restoration of the trail might look like at two key locations in the Arroyo.