Riverside Dr Bridge, Los Angeles, CA

“Faces of Elysian Valley” is an integrated public artwork that serves as a gateway to the five communities which surround it.  The artwork is designed to  be a visual feature to the  first roundabout in Los Angeles, as well as a stormwater detention landscape that traps water coming form the adjacent bridge. 

We chose to use a locally sourced California granite and created a method by which four sculptures came out of one block of stone.  

Every piece of stone was used, with the off-cuts creating the outer granite ring, which serves as a barricade to traffic.

To define the optimal shape, the height and density of the sculptures, they were designed to the ideal “visual sight-
lines” for objects within a roundabout, as defined by Oursten Roundabout Engineering.

We designed a stormwater detention landscape, including an outer ring of permeable, vegetated pavers that serves as the required truck apron. Curb cuts and a sculpted topography, capture and detain stormwater from the bridge. The landscape uses local, water wise plants, typical of the riparian LA river corridor and irrigated with reclaimed wastewater.

This was a highly collaborative project that included contractors, engineers and multiple public agencies within city government and the community. Greenmeme Studio, worked with these organizations to set up 3D scanning workshops and captured local residents’ faces. Over 200 people contributed.

The initial design for the stormwater detention landscape was in collaboration with Hyphae Design Lab. Revisions and updates were done by the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering and managed by HNTB and CH2MHill. Irrigation plans were provided by ML+A. Oursten Roundabout Engineering, communicated whether the artwork could and could not impeed on drivers views.

The partnership with our fabricator, Cold Spring Granite, required thorough communication and collaboration, from design through installation.  

commissioning agent:
City of LA / HNTB engineering
artist team:
Freya Bardell and Brian Howe
public art manager:
Ligeia Gorrecivil

Hyphae Design Laboratory / AECOM / CH2M Hill
fabrication: Coldspring Granite
Cleveland Marble
South Coast Landscape
: Stone, Landscape, LED Lighting, Permeable Pavers, PV panels,
dimensions: 100' diameter. Sculptures 8’ - 12’ high

{Mariah Tauger / For The Times} {Arron Farley}