Miraloma Park reframes a neighborhood’s context of fly overs and road embankments into a series of horizontal roof lines that shelter energetic programming and community resources. The Park Lane neighborhood, where the park is located, is encircled by the 57 and 91 freeways and the raised roadway of Miraloma Ave. These infrastructures all conspire to disconnect the neighborhood from the adjacent city fabric. In 2009 this two-acre site was identified by the City with the potential to become a new park and community center. Funded by a California State Parks Proposition 84 grant, intensive community involvement led the process, from charrettes, workshops, and on-site design sessions, these events fueled the momentum of the project. The site is now a neighborhood beacon for this underserved community.
The programmatic demands of the neighborhood became a primary concern in the development of the design and required that the site and building absorb numerous roles. The existing light industrial building was renovated to become a new community center which accommodates classes, from cooking to Zumba, computer labs to a teen center. A new addition and entrance canopy reframes the banal industrial box as an energetic place for community gathering. With distinctive roof penetrations, a solar canopy and nighttime lighting effects, this building is a landmark in the neighborhood.
The site was challenged by a number of right-of-way restrictions and the roadway embankment. The walkway ramp creates new access to the neighborhood while referencing the freeway infrastructure that flies over the site. The walkway reframes the site context creating a scenic backdrop for everyday life to unfold. A hillside botanical garden, rain gardens, an exercise loop, picnic area, playground and splash court all enhance the site programming while leaving space for intermittent events and itinerant occupations.
Even in the opening days it is clear how necessary this project was for the neighborhood. What was once a staid place for production, has now become an exuberant space for communal life.