Tomorrow is a big day for downtown Los Angeles. For the first time in decades a new public open space…no, scratch that…a new PARK will open in the Civic Core. The difference between open space and park is significant in this case. The Grand Park is not associated with a building project. There is no architectural program, no parking structure, no entertainment venue, government agency or earthquake rehab from which it has grown. This is a good, old fashioned park smack dab in the middle of downtown! Midwestern colloquialisms seem appropriate for this post, don’t they? After all, we’re measuring a public green space in acres and not square feet for once.

Despite the significance of Grand Park’s Grand Opening it isn’t receiving the press coverage seen at even the smallest of red carpet openings in this town. What’s worse is the coverage it is getting doesn’t mention Rios Clementi Hale Studios, the landscape architecture firm that has toiled for years on the project.

Yes, the acclaimed architecture critic of the LA Times, Christopher Hawthorne, has a piece in the Art & Culture section noting RCH Studios, but the more “public” coverage fails to mention the landscape architecture professionals responsible for creating a distinctly LA park (pink chairs anyone?). I couldn’t let that pass.

I don’t expect a retraction or correction, but if our profession wants to be valued we have to demand it.,0,297680.story

Mr. Allen,

Thank you for the article on the new Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. It touches on many issues associated with public open space in Los Angeles and the challenges that decision makers, planners and landscape architects contend with during such projects. Here’s hoping that Grand Park will become a treasured open space for those working, living and visiting the Civic Core of LA!

However, I ask that in the future to please reference the firm that has worked so hard over many years to make the park a reality – Rios Clementi Hale Studios ( The partners and design team at RCH Studios have been working for over 25 years to make Los Angeles the world class city it is today and should be celebrated beyond Art & Culture review columns. Tony Paradowski was quoted in the article, but his role and design team weren’t fully represented.

Landscape architecture is a leading profession in community development and open space design throughout the world. The park projects sited in the article were lead by landscape architects in New York, Houston and Chicago. LA is known for its creative minds in many professions, from entertainment to architecture. It’s important for Los Angeles to recognize the talent and commitment of its local landscape architects as well.

Duane Border

*photo from LA Times