In this Q&A, Metropolis Magazine talks with landscape architect Mia Lehrer about her work on the 1,300 acre California park taking shape in Irvine.
"Over the next three years the Orange County Great Park will grow into a 1,300-acre stretch of new and reclaimed wilderness, topped with layers of cultivated gardens and museums."
"Metropolis: How is the park laid out?
Mia Lehrer: There's this ecological framework for the park. There's a wilderness feature, then Agua Chinon, a stream that allows water from the upper wilderness areas to flow through to the lower. We're celebrating this water feature too. It was covered over in the past to get the runway going. The canyon is this sinuous element that has a lot of topography to it, there's a huge temperature change when you're in it. But right now this is all flat, nothing exists.
Metropolis: So how do you do that? How do you create a landscape where nothing exists?
Mia Lehrer: That was the big question. Ken did some exploring around Southern California. There are a lot of canyons, the one at Balboa Park [in the San Fernando Valley] was especially influential. The curvilinear spaces in the Orange County Great Park, the decision to keep the two runways, those decisions came from exploration. This is how you would connect this site to some of the other features in Southern California."