July 16, 2007
Officials Dedicate Water-Conserving Landscape at Barnsdall Art Park
Project Recalls Frank Lloyd Wright Vision for Hollyhock House “Great Lawn”
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (LADRP), and community representatives dedicated the “Great Lawn” adjacent to Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park into a California FriendlyTMlandscape.
“Aline Barnsdall gave her home on Olive Hill to the people of Los Angeles to use for reflection and recreation,” said Council President Eric Garcetti. “The new landscaping for the Great Lawn will beautify this public treasure and help educate the public about how their own choices can better reflect California’s needs and its climate.”
With views of the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Park Observatory as a backdrop, officials and community leaders cut the red ribbon to symbolically dedicate the Barnsdall Art Park Great Lawn Landscape Restoration Project. The high-visibility project will serve as a demonstration site for public education and awareness of sustainable landscape design, using California FriendlyTM landscaping, weather-based irrigation, and other elements designed to promote outdoor water conservation. Joining in the event were Council President Garcetti; Robert Rozanski, LADWP chief administrative officer; Timothy F. Brick, chairman of Metropolitan’s Board of Directors; Mark Mariscal, superintendent of operations, LA Recreation and Parks; Gary L. Moore, general manager, LA Bureau of Engineering; and Kathy Irish, interim general manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
“Water savings will be achieved through almost every element of this project. We anticipate a water savings up to 1.45 million gallons per year at Barnsdall Art Park-enough to meet the annual water needs of nine families,” said LADWP’s Rozanski. “Barnsdall Art Park is one of about 70 Los Angeles City Parks that LADWP is targeting to improve the efficiency of water use through ‘smart’ irrigation and other measures.”
Among those parks are three additional historic sites slated to soon receive complete smart irrigation systems: St. James Park, Arroyo Seco Park at Avenue 64 and Victory Memorial Grove in Elysian Park. “Through this partnership that has been forged between LADWP and the Department of Recreation and Parks, greatly needed irrigation infrastructure improvements are being realized. We are excited to be able to upgrade our parks to 21st century water conservation standards,” said Recreation and Parks Superintendent Mariscal.
The Great Lawn Restoration Project design was inspired by the original landscape architecture for the site created by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright, when the house was under construction between 1921 and 1925. The plant selection was based as much as possible on Lloyd Wright’s original list of plants. Among them are 15 different species of shrubs and ground cover, and six species of trees-all of which are water efficient and thrive in the Southern California climate.
The Barnsdall Art Park renovation is the flagship of 21 projects funded by Metropolitan’s City Makeover Program, established to transform highly visible public spaces in Southern California into native and California FriendlyTM plant showcases. A $75,000 City Makeover grant covered half of the $150,000 project. LADWP provided an additional $25,000 in funds from its water conservation program that promotes the use of “smart” irrigation techniques. LADWP, the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Bureau of Engineering all provided substantial in-kind services to design and construct the project.
“This project is exactly what we were hoping would sprout from our City Makeover program-a popular public space remade into a vision of smart, environmentally sensitive landscaping that saves water, particularly in this record dry year,” said Metropolitan’s Brick. “We hope to inspire the thousands of people who visit the park annually to adopt the California FriendlyTM ideal for their own yards.”
The landscape restoration of the “Great Lawn,” nearly one acre in size and dramatically situated on a hill above Hollywood Boulevard, features native and drought-tolerant plants such as Hybrid Bermudagrass. The new lawn uses 21% less water than typical cool season turf. Tough, drought-tolerant and California native plants typically need 75% less water during the first two years and thrive largely on natural precipitation after that.
The irrigation system utilizes low-cost, high-efficiency sprinkler heads along with a state-of-the-art, weather-based controller to ensure the lawn is watered only when necessary. Weather-based irrigation has been shown to reduce annual water use by as much as one acre-foot (326,000 gallons) for each acre that is irrigated, explained Tom Gackstetter, LADWP water conservation manager.
Among other water-saving landscape elements, grading and soil rehabilitation will minimize precipitation runoff and retain irrigation through improved infiltration and reduced evaporation, while ensuring drainage away from the historic Hollyhock House.
LADWP served as the lead agency for the project, provided the demolition and grading, and shared the project management duties with LADRP. LADRP provided the advance planning, schematic design, installation and construction management. The Bureau of Engineering provided design development, construction documentation, construction supervision and signage design.
The City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission declared Hollyhock House a historic-cultural monument in January 1963, and Barnsdall Center and Barnsdall Park historical-cultural monuments in February 1965. All three facilities were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1971 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Hollyhock House was declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in May 2007.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility, provides reliable, low-cost water and power services to Los Angeles residents and businesses in an environmentally responsible manner. LADWP services about 1.4 million electric customers and 680,000 water customers in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.ladwp.com.
# # #