Asphalt to Waterway at Enviromental Charter HS
April 16, 2010 § 7 Comments
This week I got a chance to briefly visit a small constructed-creek project at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale. The ~400-student school worked with some friends of mine at La Loma Development Comany to remove large swaths of asphalt and create natural landscapes and food orchards. The school has done a lot to use nature and natural/recycled materials to soften the somewhat institutional edges of a typical Southern California campus.
In the middle of the school there’s a recirculating creek/pond (yes – including my sometimes nemesis – a pump), with a small waterfall and wetland plants. When it rains, the pond collects runoff and overflows into a dry creekbed with sycamores and other native landscaping. The area was sun-baked asphalt before; this week it definitely felt calm, cool and soothing.
I have to confess that I actually visited mostly to check out the La Loma’s excellent broken-concrete (or “urbanite“) amphitheater seating areas. Anyone who has seen my garden knows that I really enjoy working with urbanite – and I expect that we’re going to have plenty of it as we remove excessive concrete from L.A.’s waterways.
The broken concrete work at ECHS is impressive. Five levels of curvaceous unmortared broken concrete seating terraces create an outdoor classroom -somewhat reminiscent of a small-scale Mayan or Aztec pyramid or temple. The main entrance to the school features very beautiful semi-circular urbanite steps.
It’s impressive what the school has done in a few small spaces. Worth checking out. You can see some of the work and catch some of the positive energy watching the video below. Also check out more photos at La Loma’s website.