Locations: W 9th Street and Hope Los Angeles, CA 90017
Size: 2.5 acre
Cost: $4.8 million
Official Opening Date: 1993
Yet another of Lawrence Halprin’s works in downtown Los Angeles, Grand Hope Park is a 2.5 acre park anchoring the southern end of the Los Angeles Open Space Network. Though this park is only a half mile away from Pershing Square, the differences between these two parks are striking. In contrast to the hot, concrete island of Pershing Square, Grand Hope Park is a lush oasis, filled with rolling green lawns, arched gateways, a clock tower and flowering vine-covered pergolas.
The plans to develop Grand Hope Park were set in motion as early as 1975; the park was thought to be the first major park to be built in Los Angeles since the opening of Pershing Square in 1870. Sited behind the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, this rectilinear park is filled with art installations, from bronze statues of coyotes to bird stencils in the walkways.
I remember visiting Grand Hope Park shortly after Pershing Square and the surprise I felt at seeing how different the two parks were. Grand Hope Park is more organic and curvilinear in form. There was also a greater sense of safety and cleanliness. In addition to the main rolling green lawn at Grand Hope Park, there are numerous “outdoor rooms” at Grand Hope Park, both within the shaded pergolas and those spaces that are divided by the pergolas. There’s a sense of tranquility and peace within this park, which is likely aided by the vegetated barriers between the park and outside traffic.