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Clean Tech Corridor Competition

Los Angeles, California



To achieve the evolution of larger scaled sustainable environments within existing urban fabrics, physical systems and structures along with new ways of looking at buildings for their potential resilience and long term value has to be encouraged.

The re-engineering of this 4 dimensional urban landscape is not planned. It is an incremental almost viral response where affinities and connections based on everything from education, workflow, manufacturing and production start working together, organizing locations and services to create the most efficient solution conserving resources and time while building a “new urban design paradigm.”.


A main concept of our proposal is the idea of “overlay”, where infrastructure is not dug up and replaced but run overhead allowing for many additional possibilities of program uses to help offset the costs of construction.


The proposal is to use select segments of the river’s edge to introduce a “Natural System” approach to the completion of water purification. Using reed beds and other wetland landscaping to turn the edges of the river into the “kidney” of the development, river water will be filtered and used for non-potable uses.


High Speed Rail will impact the western edge of the river the length of the corridor. This will greatly impact the growth on the northern portion of the site into a mixed use environment possibly providing a diverse housing mix for the community. This rail will complement the present light rail and bus transportation network that currently exists


Sustainable types of transport including personal electric vehicles and rental bikes providing seamless connections within the Corridor and the wider and city area between public transportation and the destination.


Energy consumption is currently dominated by the warehouse and light industrial uses.  An energy budget will be established using current demand as a baseline. Where density can be created, it is proposed to utilize more efficient satellite central plants. These plants can also incorporate load shedding strategies such as ice storage for cooling as well as manufacturing process. 


Baseline energy needs in the first phases will be provided by the existing grid. Buildings will be renovated/rebuilt to high efficiency standards with localized energy production. Once the original energy baseline is reached, all new requirements will be supplied through multi mode renewable sources including photo voltaics, small wind, and fuel cells fed by anaerobic digesters.


The Waste Strategy includes localized waste treatment including composting and biofuel production. 


This project was a collaboration that included Mia Lehrer + Associates,  BuroHappold Engineering, James Suhr & Associates and Elizabeth Timme.

Three Dimensional Tensile Structures are designed to span and connect both sides of the river providing opportunities for the production of energy and agricultural goods while facilitating more flexible pedestrian movement across the river. The open formal nature of the structures will also allow for these crossings to have multiple landings creating a three dimensional pedestrian path complementing the existing street grid. 


These elements have similarities to airfoils allowing for enhanced airflow for energy gathering from multiple sources. The surface and interior will be metallic netting which will be used to capture moisture from fog which can be used to supplement the irrigation of these crops.

The Bridges Over the LA River are an integral urban element that gives the corridor its unique identity. These connections physically and metaphorically bridge and tie the city together.

The Whittier Bridge is slated to be replaced. This structure can become a pedestrian connection and linear park with mixed use and recreational functions The automobile bridge could be built adjacent.

The scheme also proposes populating 4th Avenue Bridge with civic and additional recreational uses greatly enhancing value of the connection.

Buildings in the Corridor were built for industrial use and over time have become either highly modified or obsolete. We propose finding interim uses consistent with the sustainable nature of the corridor. 

Proposed is the “High performance Ruin.” By editing obsolete elements of existing buildings new uses can be integrated with less investment than new construction..  The goal is to create a flexible building platform that will allow for different uses to be quickly “installed” so that as business models and needs change the flexibility of the structure will be inherent. Possible uses include affordable housing, light manufacturing, agricultural uses or a mixed use scenario of all the above.

The nature of high performance comes from the ability to create a structure with a high degree of efficiency and flexibility (resilience) easily accommodating change of uses while minimizing the energy, waste and water usage.

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