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
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
For more information about the Orange County Great Park, go to
SOURCE Orange County Great Park Corporation