Aiso Plaza

Los Angeles, CA
Apx. 2000 sf plaza
Stainless steel, glass and lighting
Photography: Tom Bonner

The Aiso Street Plaza lies close to the center of the dramatic cross currents of downtown Los Angeles. With Little Tokyo as a cornerstone, the site is steeped in history and movement. From this intersection of First and Aiso, echoes of Olvera Street, China Town, Union Station, the Museums and Monuments linger in the memory. Aiso Plaza attempts to manifest these influences as an observatory mapping urban constellations.

Through the concept of Encompassing Aiso, we chose to inscribe Aiso Plaza with an overarching mapping system, capable of locating it within the context of histories and cultures that define the place. Using the Plaza as a starting point, the proposal creates pedestrian linkages with nearby sites which could be walked to, underlining the function of the public parking garage where people would arrive, park and then walk to their destinations.

This mapping system manifests in two interrelated elements: Pathways and Portals. The Pathways are envisioned as physical traces, broad elliptical stainless steel arcs set flush with the plaza concrete, which would mark trajectories from the plaza to other significant and nearby destinations. At the points where the steel strips exit the plaza, etchings contain text naming the destination. We have selected sites where there are potential walking paths between Aiso Plaza and more distant but significant downtown destinations. These gently arched pathways also serve as a delicate counter point to the rectilinear nature of the plaza.

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