LA River Index brings research, communities and advocates together, sets the stage for the future of the LA River

The LA River planning team, including OLIN partners Richard Roark and Laurie Olin, look out over the river. Image © OLIN / Jessica Henson

The LA River planning team, including OLIN partners Richard Roark and Laurie Olin, look out over the river. Image © OLIN / Jessica Henson

RiverLA has launched the LA River Index, a publicly accessible, online compendium of research and data on the history, current context, and future potential of the Los Angeles River.

In the fall of 2014, a team comprised of River LA, Gehry Partners, Geosyntec and OLIN began studying the vast array of research surrounding the LA River and creating a single, equitable framework to use when evaluating the river’s possibilities along all 51 miles, without the limitations of political jurisdiction or public agency mandates. The result of that Phase 1 work is the LA River Index. Building upon 25 years of work, the index includes data from new and existing studies and master plans, informed by input from community members, peer organizations, state and local agencies and technical experts, and will continue to evolve and be updated as the team continues to study various aspects of the river.

For more information on the LA River Index, RiverLA and our design team’s ongoing work, see the LA River Index and River LA online.

Happening Now: LAF’s Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future


Today and tomorrow, leaders in landscape architecture will convene in Philadelphia for the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future. This landmark event also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Declaration of Concern, in which Ian McHarg and other leaders in the field came together to address the critical state of the environment and solidified landscape architecture’s role in stewarding a more conscious future. Among this year’s speakers and moderators are OLIN’s own CEO Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, founder and partner Laurie Olin, FASLA, and Landscape Designer Joanna Karaman, a 2015 Olmstead Scholar.

Visit the Landscape Architecture Foundation for more information on the summit and more ways to get involved.

In town for the AIA Convention? Experience OLIN in Philadelphia!


A warm welcome from all of us at OLIN to Philadelphia and the 2016 AIA National Convention! While you’re busy experiencing everything our great city has to offer, be sure to check out our AIA Guide to OLIN in Philadelphia. Did you know that more than a dozen OLIN projects will be featured at this year’s convention? We are also thrilled to be hosting a reception for the alumni and friends of the University of Texas at Austin at our Independence Mall studio.

OLIN joins the Community Design Collaborative’s Hall of Fame

Become a Friend of the Rail Park from Good Motion Project on Vimeo.

OLIN and partner Richard Roark have been inducted into the Community Design Collaborative’s Volunteer Hall of Fame. The Community Design Collaborative (CDC), an organization dedicated to revitalizing the greater Philadelphia area through design, has partnered with OLIN on a plethora of projects over the years, including Julian Abele Park, Bache Martin School, Southwark School and VIADUCT Greene. VIADUCT Greene, now known as Philadelphia Rail Park, is the redesign of a decommissioned elevated and subterranean rail line to create a public green space. This new public amenity will provide passive open space, lush garden greenery, pedestrian and cycling trails, spaces for arts and exhibitions, and outdoor classroom space for the adjacent Community College of Philadelphia. As a result of OLIN’s commitment to pro-bono projects like the Rail Park, the CDC has inducted OLIN into its Volunteer Hall of Fame for donating over 1,500 hours of design work to these efforts. Richard Roark, the leading partner for many of OLIN’s projects with the CDC, was also honored for his individual contribution of over 500 hours of pro-bono work. OLIN is proud to contribute to Philadelphia’s ongoing revitalization and is continuing its pro-bono work in cities across the country.

Happy Holidays from OLIN

Warmest wishes from all of us at OLIN for a joyful holiday season! It’s been an incredible year, and we have much to be grateful for. Most of all, we thank our amazing clients and colleagues—can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store!

OLIN’s offices will be closed for the holiday week starting Thursday, December 24th, but don’t worry! We’ll be back in action in 2016, when we reopen on Monday, January 4th.

Exciting News On The Hudson Riverfront

Pier redesign to take place along the Hudson River


Located in the Hudson River Park in Tribeca, OLIN has been asked to redesign the two and one half acre Pier by the Hudson River Park Trust. The Pier, with incredible views to the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River and the new World Trade Center, will be associated with a new estuarium. The estuarium will be both a public outreach and education opportunity as well as a operating research facility, focused on the health of Hudson River Estuary. The Pier will be a highly flexible space for public events, education and recreation.

“Research Gold” Below Bryant Park

Photo by Sahar Coston-Hardy of OLIN.

Photo by Sahar Coston-Hardy of OLIN.

Many visitors to NYC’s Bryant Park are unaware that the site is a large-scale green roof above an annex housing more than three million volumes of the adjacent New York Public Library.

On November 15, the New York Times published an article about New York Public Library’s state-of-the-art storage system, which just happens to reside directly below Bryant Park. OLIN’s design for the park included this underground space for the Public Library, but the stacks were never fully utilized. In recent years, as the library’s necessity for a large storage system capable of being deciphered in a moment’s notice has grown, the question of where to store the 2.5 million different works has become a top priority. While initially hypothesizing moving the collection to New Jersey, the library has made the decision to fully embrace the remaining floor of the two floor storage system below Bryant Park, and begin filling the stacks. The books will be organized according to size, a new system replacing the previously used Dewey Decimal system, and motorized carts will be used to transport the books from one location to another.
At this time when libraries are striving to maintain their relevance in an increasingly digitized world, it’s exciting to see the extent to which the New York Library is going to keep their collection strong and accessible to visitors, and how Bryant Park was able to contribute in protecting these important works.
Click here for the full NYTimes article.

See you in Chicago!

We look forward to this time every year, when we join our colleagues, peers, students, professors and fellow enthusiasts in scholarship, collaborating and celebrating Landscape Architecture. This year at the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo, we are celebrating the Design Honor Award for Mill River Park and Greenway and are participating in nine education sessions.

2015 Professional and Student Awards
Join us on Monday to celebrate the winners of the 2015 Professional and Student Awards, including Mill River Park and Greenway in Stamford, Connecticut, recipient of a Design Honor Award, and OLIN Landscape Architect Zheming (Taro) Cai, Associate ASLA, winner of the prestigious Student Award of Excellence.

Grace Farms Opens

Grace Farms Blog - 500

Grace Farms, a former 75-acre horse farm transformed into a spiritual and community retreat in New Canaan, Connecticut, opens today. The project, a collaboration begun in 2010 by OLIN and internationally renowned architects SANAA, celebrates the beauty of nature through landscape and creates a welcoming environment that fosters relationships, wellness, and reflection.

OLIN teamed with SANAA to create this innovative non-profit facility dedicated to serving both the local community of New Canaan and the Grace Farms Foundation. The design for Grace Farms is inspired by the site’s historically pastoral character. OLIN and SANAA’s design approach was to touch the land as lightly as possible while incorporating a diverse set of programs and amenities to serve New Canaan’s need for public space. SANAA’s sinuous building evokes the image of a river, its windowed façade and low profile helping it to blend harmoniously with OLIN’s landscape. Drives, walks and trails and gathering spaces within the landscape were designed to embody a range of characters, from a cultivated town village to agrarian fields and managed woodland. The landscape evokes a sense of warmth, elegance, and authenticity—all defining a positive atmosphere and an engaging experience for visitors and neighbors of Grace Farms.

Additional coverage of Grace Farms can be found at Architectural Record and the Architect’s Newspaper.

Mill River Park Wins ASLA Honor Award

Mill River FINAL for blog

Mill River Park and Greenway in Stamford, Connecticut has received a Design Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Prior to the construction of the park, Mill River was a polluted, derelict riverbank that posed a significant flood risk to Stamford. With the help of ecologists and engineers, OLIN’s design, led by CEO and Partner Lucinda Sanders, brought life back to the riverbank and reintroduced the area’s native flora and fauna. Pathways and a vibrant new park reconnect the surrounding community to the river’s edge, which has been disconnected from the neighborhoods for the past century. The rehabilitation of Mill River is an example of redefining active urban areas in a sustainable and rejuvenating way that serves as a catalyst for social and economic growth in the Stamford community.

View the full submission here.