Congratulations to The Festival of Arts for a spectacular and inspiring facade designed by Bauer Architects of Newport Beach.
The choice of materials and its impact sets the bar and will drive the re-visioning process including restoration and enhancement of Laguna Creek, the historic digester building, beautification of the village entry with safer and more thoughtful pathways, a reimagined median, a canopy of trees over pedestrian walkways on the opposite side of the canyon, potential of narrowing the downtown and arts district highway under Caltrans’ new specifications.
It presents us great potential for planning circulation through a series of mini round-abouts, which could showcase landscape elements as well as public art, calming traffic while enhancing safety for pedestrians and biking. Possibilities can now be imagined for increasing alternative mobility, continuation of architectural elements for the Playhouse exterior, opportunities for creek-side seating and pathways, beautified trolley and bus stops, multi-use mini-parks, while adding more opportunities to highlight and appreciate Laguna’s natural and creative offerings.
The new FOA facade incorporates important water wise landscaping, use of massive boulders, beautifully articulated materials such as perforated and embossed copper screening, rammed earth walls and seating throughout the arrival area. There are surfaces like waves on pedestrian walkways, places to stop, rest and hop on and off public transit giving us and visitors a spectacular sense of arrival.
Experiencing the Festival’s new facade as a contemporary echo of the Canyon’s beauty and Laguna’s true entryway into the village is a tribute and a most spectacular oeuvre! Now it’s time to complete the visioning process and make us all the more joyous…
Leah Vasquez, Laguna Beach
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