KEN SMITH WORKSHOP
Orange County Great Park: Palm Court, Irvine, CA
Start Date: 2005
Completion Date: 2011
The Orange County Great Park Corporation, client
WRNS Studio, architect
Grant Mudford, photography
Ken Smith Workshop led a multi-disciplinary team that won a major design competition in 2006 for the reuse of 1,348 acres of the decommissioned El Toro Marine Corps Air Station as a metropolitan park serving the southern California region. The design team prepared a full master plan and comprehensive park design for the project. The project emphasizes sustainability at a large scale, making social spaces that promote community and health, connections to regional identity, and a sense of history.
Early activation park improvements including the Preview Park with its orange observation balloon and the Western Sector Park Development Plan with its Farm and Food Lab, Community Gardens, Kids Rock play environment, Palm Court Arts Complex and North Lawn Soccer Fields.
The Palm Court is located at the site of the earliest Marine Corps squadron unit, built in 1943 and restored as part of the project for reuse as an arts-oriented and special events site. The Palm Court creates an iconic southern California oasis that establishes a human scaled-place within the larger context of the park, which will be developed over time.
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