Ken Smith Landscape Architect of New York Selected as Master Designer in Orange County Great Park Competition

Jan 23, 2006, 00:00 ET from Orange County Great Park Corporation

    IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Orange County Great Park
 Corporation Board of Directors today enthusiastically selected Ken Smith
 Landscape Architect of New York, a world-renowned landscape design firm, as
 Master Designer of the Orange County Great Park.  Ken Smith and his team will
 be charged with the overall responsibility of creating the master design for
 the Orange County Great Park.  Their most famous designs include the East
 Pines Master Plan and the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea, Space and Air Museum, both in
 New York, and Third Street Light Rail Project in San Francisco.
     Ken Smith earned the support of two jury panels assembled to judge the
 designs of landscape architect firms competing to be Master Designer of the
 Orange County Great Park in an intense eight-month competitive process.  The
 jurors, all distinguished leading architects, designers and academics, were
 passionate about Smith's conceptual originality and use of dominant features.
     Smith's design includes a canyon joining the Agua Chinon corridor with a
 lake.  An amphitheatre faces east across the lake.  The design retains the old
 runway as a linear monument to the Marine history with fighter planes
 stationed along its entire length.  Orange bicycles would be used as a mode of
 transportation throughout the park and three large hot air balloons would be
 an attraction for visitors to see the entire park from above.
     Smith's design also responded to the public's needs and desires.  More
 than 3,380 individuals from around the county participated in an online poll
 and nearly 1,700 individual comments, of which twenty percent were from Irvine
 residents, were positive responses to Ken Smith's proposal.  Smith's design
 captured the public's imagination with lakes, an amphitheatre, sports park,
 museums and a natural grove.
     "I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support both the public's
 preference and that of the distinguished jury design panel to select Ken Smith
 Landscape Architect as Master Designer of the Orange County Great Park," said
 Larry Agran, Chair of the Orange County Great Park Corporation.  "I will do
 everything in my power to make sure the Orange County Great Park is the most
 extraordinary park to be built in the 21st Century."
     Ken Smith Landscape Architect was one of 38 world-renowned design firms
 invited to compete for the honor of becoming the Master Designer of the Orange
 County Great Park.  Twenty-four firms responded.  From this, the Orange County
 Great Park Board of Directors chose seven semi-finalists based on the
 recommendations of an expert jury.  In late September, the seven firms
 presented their designs to the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors and
 to the public.  More than 3,380 members of the public reviewed the designs in
 an online poll or on display at Irvine City Hall.   After formal
 presentations, the public participation process, and recommendations of a
 second jury panel, the Orange County Great Park Board chose three
 semi-finalists.  Ken Smith Landscape Architect was one of the semi-finalists.
     In November, the Board embarked on an intensive research trip to evaluate
 the work of the semi-finalists.  The projects designed by Ken Smith's team
 include 55 Water Street Plaza, 7 World Trade Center, Roof Garden Museum of
 Modern Art, South Cove, and Battery Park -- all in New York -- and Railyard
 Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
     The Board made their decision based on criteria that included a design
 style that supports community and Great Park Board preferences; management
 style and how the Master Designer and their design team will complement the
 Board and staff; display of artistry that supports the vision of the community
 and Board; and a demonstration of project experience sufficient to design the
 Great Park.
     The Orange County Great Park staff will immediately begin contract
 negotiations with Ken Smith Landscape Architect.  Following negotiations, the
 firm will begin work on the master design which will include building and
 structural themes, scale of the elements, building materials, lighting, a
 landscape pallet and planting schemes, gateways and edge treatments, signage
 and way-finding, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation patterns.
     A groundbreaking ceremony is slated for Spring, 2006.
     The 1,347-acre Orange County Great Park will be a major metropolitan park
 and the focal point of redevelopment of the larger 4,700-acre former Marine
 Corps Air Station El Toro located in Irvine, California and designated for
 closure more than a decade ago.  The Great Park will include extensive natural
 areas in addition to recreational and cultural uses.  The remaining 3,700-acre
 area will be revitalized by the Lennar Corporation and will include
 residential, educational, commercial, and retail uses as well as other
 supporting facilities.
     For more information about the Orange County Great Park, go to

SOURCE Orange County Great Park Corporation