From Brown to Green with Tasty Eats!
There’s one less brownfield in LA County with the opening of the Stoneview Nature Center—a community center promoting healthy and sustainable living. As the landscape designer for the project, AHBE | MIG helped create a place where people can enjoy nature, learn about and enjoy healthy eating, cultivate yoga and other exercise habits, and participate in site-specific art events.
The first step was to mitigate the soil, which contained hydrocarbon and petroleum in the top 18 inches and would not support plant growth. The team used “over excavation” to draw noncontaminated soil to the surface and bury the compromised soil far beneath the site. They also vented every tree to bring oxygen to the roots to counter the displacement of oxygen by methane gas. And all edibles were planted in raised beds.
The new landscape features two main components: a Mediterranean demonstration garden and a native grass meadow bordered by a loop trail called Pollination Walk. The garden surrounds the community center and includes seven themed sections that highlight the area’s agricultural history with citrus, avocado, figs, berries, etc. The community uses the vegetables, fruits and herbs harvested from the garden in the Center’s demonstration kitchen. The meadow and trail fit nicely into the County’s “Park to Playa Trail”—a green corridor that will eventually connect state, county and city parks into a continuous trail from Playa del Rey to Baldwin Hills.
The landscape also offers public art with wayfinding and interpretive graphics that further support lifestyle shifts toward sustainability, health and wellness. The project is a model for reclaiming brownfields for productive use and public benefit and has won numerous awards for civic design.
The project has won awards from the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles; Design Build Institute of America; Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Awards; and The Southern California Development Forum.