Do Not Overlook This!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Saturday LA residents and park rangers alike celebrated the opening of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City. Located on a hill 500 feet above the city, the new 50 acre state park has probably the most complete view of Los Angeles that exists, with close to 360 degree vistas that stretch from Downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean.

The park’s visitors center—which contains exhibitions on local ecology and history and offers event spaces and conference rooms— was designed by San Diego-based Safdie Rabines Architects. With a bare bones budget they created  a curved, canopied, exposed concrete, steel, and (floor to ceiling) glass structure that hugs the site, affords incredible visibility, and seems to grow out of its undulating earthscape.

They also helped shape that earth, which forms an ampitheater adjacent to the building, imbedded with unique native plants (one of them, the Coastal Sage Scrub, is being saved from extinction). Next to that area curving mounds lead one to a hidden crescendo: the unmatched panorama from the eastern end of the park. The only down side: because the Parks Department is so poor they couldn’t afford solar panels or other sustainable building elements. Yes, this is still LA, isn’t it?

7 Responses to “Do Not Overlook This!”

  1. Jack Skelley says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ve been wondering when this would be finished and hadn’t heard anything til now. I will link to your story on my blog soon…

  2. Jack Skelley says:

    I wrote an item an linked to The Architect’s Newspaper. Thanks.

  3. Jill J. says:

    Stopped by there today and it was amazing. Really enjoyed taking in the view and the peace and quiet. I’ll be heading back soon with my fiancée to hike the trail-it looks really fun. Thanks for the heads-up about this place.

  4. Jill J. says:

    Hi again, just thought I’d share my photographs I took today. They’re in a set on my flickr page located here:

    I’ll be making more trips here so keep checking back for more photos! :)

  5. lance glover says:

    thanks for your article- and very much in agreement that this is an exceptional project on a very special site. one comment though- the Scenic Overlook is part of the State Parks system (which as we know has had its funding dramatically slashed recently), so the notion that a lack of capital for more sustainable elements being an “LA” issue is rather ungrounded…

  6. […] while back The Architects Newspaper Blog posted on the new Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook here in LA. I had commented on that post with a link to the photos I took while visiting […]

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