Pershing Square Renew has been working diligently with our partners at the City of Los Angeles – Councilmember José Huizar’s office, the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Bureau of Engineering – and Agence Ter / Gruen Associates to create a design and programming scheme to reinvent Pershing Square. The work done thus far, and the work that we will undertake as the process moves forward, will ensure that Angelenos will once again view Pershing Square as the dynamic heart of Los Angeles.

“This project isn’t a masterpiece, it’s a canvas. But it’s a masterful canvas” -- Henri Bava, Principal of Agence Ter and Design Lead



Placemaking is a transformative process for building places that connect people and strengthen communities.

The renewal of Pershing Square, building on the global placemaking movement, aspires to be a model for the transformation of public spaces throughout Los Angeles and beyond.

“When placemaking is a community process; and the goal is to create great experiences for people over award-winning design, then two aspirations for Pershing Square rise above all others: 1. That people love the square; 2. That people own the square as their own (because it is).”
– Eduardo Santana, Pershing Square Renew

Pershing Square Farmers Market

A new design for Pershing Square is only part of the equation. In the most successful examples of active, diverse, and engaging public spaces around the country, the driving forces are operations and maintenance. Although it sounds obvious, ensuring that (1) the space is clean, well kept, and has an inviting atmosphere; and (2) that there are attractive programs and activities (Project for Public Spaces recommends 10+ things ) to do in the square on a daily basis are tantamount to creating a successful public space that people will love.

That’s why, in addition to and alongside of the redesign of the square, Pershing Square Renew’s mission also includes reimagining the programs, activities and uses – generated and managed by the operating team – so as to ensure Pershing Square assumes its rightful place as one of the country’s premier urban public spaces.

Take a look at our blog post on programming to learn more about the importance of programming in Pershing Square, and what it looks like today.

The Design

“Since Summer 2017, Agence Ter, together with Gruen Associates, have evolved the initial conceptual scheme based on the technical realities of the site and in partnership with the city.

The essential elements of the competition scheme – great lawn, pergola, gardens and promenade – remain consistent and so has our goal: to create a new green heart in downtown Los Angeles, a radical openness.

Opening the site means removing barriers and walls and altering the parking garage roof deck in order to return Pershing Square to the same height as the surrounding sidewalks. This allows sight-lines and a sense of openness with flexibility for program.

With technical investigation from our consultant team, we have come to better understand the parking garage itself, its limitations for structural loading as well as planting depth.

A key change has been the replacement of the pergola from Hill Street to Olive and the migration of the gardens closer to Hill Street. This shift both retains the original spatial conception of the competition while achieving clear design improvements.

The introduction of a step closer to Hill Street helps provide planting depth and allows the relocation of the grand gardens envisioned in the competition without significant incursion into parking below. We will begin to develop these gardens and their adjacency to a planted Promenade along Hill Street forming a natural canopy for all-day shade.

Between the natural and the architectural canopies, the great lawn provides the green heart of the city.

Further design refinements and technical analyses are ahead as we work towards completing a Concept and Feasibility phase in early Spring 2018.”

The design has naturally evolved since Agence Ter and Team won the competition in 2016, and will continue to do so throughout the feasibility and design phases. To view the initial design that won the competition, please visit the Process page of our website.


December 2017 Public Event

Agence Ter & Team Video