Studio One Eleven

The Orange County Great Park

Location: Irvine, CA
Clients: FivePoint; Brightview
Type: Community Center, Park
Creating Community

The Orange County Great Park (OCGP) is part of the re-development of the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, with 1,300 acres dedicated to public spaces that honor the region's history while embracing recreation, sports, parkland, and environment. Ten new residential neighborhoods each have a unique character, and each is anchored by a central green space that connects to the greater community through a network of trails and open spaces.

Studio One Eleven is designing places that encourage community within several of OCGP neighborhood parks.

Rise Park Located within a vibrant and nature-inspired architectural community of the OCGP, Rise Park is designed with three section themes: Majestic, Profound Sanctuary, and Overlook.

At Overlook, a large elevated terrace is oriented to capture the view toward the setting sun. The angles of the terrace point to the winter and summer solstice sunset locations. The terrace faces the Santiago Peak opposite the sunset view.

Located at the high point of the park, The Majestic community building was inspired by majestic synonyms, such as elevated, lofty, distinguished. The distinctive modern architecture is highly exacting and crafted to express the character of those words. Design continues with the pool restroom building, all pool shade structures, and park shade structures and restrooms.

The roofline begins flat and intimate at the library and twists to create a lofty interior space, which is the building's main public gathering space, resulting in two distinct interior experiences with one roof.

The Profound Sanctuary gardens create a sense of balance for the mind and body by incorporating empty (yin) and occupied (yang) activity spaces. A collection of circular forms, two architectural shade structures reinforce the park's geometry and create a strong visual connection to nature. The shade pavilion has a folded wall with a circular opening that frames a landscape feature tree and serves as a single person's seat. Support for the pavilion includes a large rock to literalize the connection between nature and its supportive/restorative properties. The underside of the pavilion is a perforated mirrored surface to reflect the garden onto the shade pavilion; looking up also means looking down to the gardens.

"Strong integration of architecture and landscape as you weave the two through a series of pavilions and trails. It challenges the stereotypes often found in suburban tracts."-AIA OC Jury

Novel Park
At Novel Park, the community center sets the stage for serendipitous or novel encounters within a community designed to attract millennials. Located in a neighborhood of townhomes, Novel Park offers three community spaces: a coffee shop, a grand home, and a garage. These places expand the amount of living space for homeowners and encourage social interaction. Studio One Eleven provided architecture and collaborated with RDC on the interiors of these buildings.

The community building is an aspirational grand home, with three main gathering spaces. A chef's kitchen accommodates large parties, spilling out into a large living room where two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows create indoor-outdoor ambiance. The architectural windows showcase views of the site's mature heritage tree and the neighborhood beyond. The windows allow for the contemporary-style pendant chandeliers to become beacons of light for the area in the evenings.

A switch-back staircase leads to a covered open-air deck where residents can lounge and relax in the breeze while enjoying the views.

CUP, the first community coffee shop in the OCGP neighborhoods, is located at Novel Park. Residents can walk to get morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon snacks, emulating a city environment where neighbors can happen upon each other as they go about their daily lives.

The Garage serves as an extension of the home where an oversized garage door invites guests and locals alike to use this building as a hangout space for games and movies, a work zone, or as part of the coffee shop. This casual common area honors the history of the site with maps and original tools from the base that hang on the walls, complementing the distressed leathers, metals, and textiles found on the furniture and millwork. The focal point is the vintage motorcycle that takes center stage.

Cadence Park
The Cadence Park neighborhood offers a new, state-of-the-art school and an arts park. Imagined as a place where families of all sizes can dream and create their lives, a mix of architectural styles distinguishes the community. At the neighborhood community park, Studio One Eleven created distinct buildings, each representing and containing a unique art program.

The primary gathering space is centered around a lowered courtyard to set it apart from the remainder of the park, creating a protected agora for outdoor gatherings and events. The arts buildings cluster together to create a visually protected space, while varied elevations throughout the park provide an overlook, places for murals and art installations, creative play spaces, and an outdoor amphitheater for performances.

Parasol Park
Studio One Eleven designed the 'Living Room' community building and greenhouse structure at the 2.5-acre Parasol Park located within the OCGP neighborhoods.

Studio One Eleven worked to place the community building as close as possible to the existing 75-foot stone pine tree, carving the large plaza out of the ground and blending the roofline into the landscape, creating a living rooftop deck that overlooks the neighborhood.

Poured-in-place concrete, corten steel, oiled teak wood, and dark bronze accents create a warm indoor space complete with a fireplace, opening onto a large community plaza. The park's design focuses on things typically found in the backyard. The building coexists within its setting, feeling as if it were part of the existing area.

Projects Awards
Golden Nugget Award, Best Community Amenity - Rise Park
AIA OC Merit Award - Cadence Park
AIA OC Citation Award - Great Parks Neighborhood
Lumen West Award of Merit - Novel Park
AIA Long Beach/South Bay Award - Novel Park

Related stories