In response to the competition brief for a series of gates along the LA River created by the Neighborhood Land Trust, our proposal has the qualities of an artwork rather than being simply decorative. The design of the gates is an expression of continuous processes – the movement of water and air, and the reflection of surfaces, the changing play of light and shadow from day to night. We developed 4 different types of gates – each specific to a location and a use. All of them use a variation of the same fabrication technique, and each uses an abstraction of water and reflection as a starting point for the design.

The first set of gates we call the “Flow Gates”. They provide a grand entrance to the river off the primary streets of Wilbur Ave, Vanowen Street and Reseda Blvd. The second type of gate is the “Ripple Gate” – asymmetrical pairs of mirrored gates with curved tops located on either side of the river and on either side of the Amigo Street Bridge. In the single gates titled the ”Succulent Gate” the same principles apply in variation in response to a location that is more heavily vegetated and green. Finally, the single “Re-flected Gate” is constructed of all the waste pieces from the 6 Flow Gates, and acts as a reverse variation of the pattern. As the heaviest gate, this one is designed to be kept closed and locked most of the time.

Practically speaking, the gates are constructed of steel – stainless if budget permits, polished and sealed if not. An abstract image of water and reflection is transferred to the steel to act as a temporary stencil. Section of steel are removed using the water-jet process, and the image is engraved into the steel in two-steps….the darker portion of the image representing the deepest engraving. Thus the highly polished portions of the steel will remain shiny and reflective, while the engraved relief creates a range of shadow patterns.

project team: jacki apple, tracy stone, jennifer gilman, kelly mcconnaha