On Tuesday the 24th, the city of West Hollywood held a Grand Opening celebration commemorating the completion of a new form of public art: a beautiful community plaza and an automated parking garage, both showcasing not only stellar space but site-specific art. Sleek, modern, and airy, the Automated Garage and Community Plaza represent the first municipal project of its kind on the west coast. The structure offers a 200-space parking garage and a 7,000-square-foot plaza – with stunning hand-painted murals located at four parking bays.
The murals were created by artists Art of Chase, MONCHO1929, Bronwyn Lundberg, and Kim West. Each piece is unique and vibrant.
In Parking Bay 1, Moncho 1929’s “Flight Plan” features soaring birds that are meant to represent the innovative tech and wonder of the automated garage itself; his poetic murals have previously been archived with the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy.
Parking Bay 2 features Kim West’s pastel “Untitled,” exquisitely floral, evoking butterlies, translucent sunsets, and abstract trees. Other works by west include a four story artwork graces the exterior of the new Huaster, Wirth, & Schimmel Gallery in DTLA.
Parking Bay 3 features the witty work of The Art of Chase, “We Are All One,” a pop art cluster of eyeballs meant to represent diverse energies moving together. On the opposing wall is a merged symbol that represents the peace and love in West Hollywood’s inclusive history.
And in Parking Bay 4, Bron’s “Business Park” visualizes colorful pop raptors wearing wigs and talking on cell phones, a delightful riff on business and culture. Adjoining is a Pterodactyl nicknamed Lizadactyl after Liza Minnelli. Both pieces reflect the roots of LA artist Bron, who is the co-founder of the pop art studio YoMeryl.
West Hollywood mayor Lauren Meister is justifiably excited by the art and the technology of the parking structure, located in an area that has long needed additional parking resources. “The technology is amazing,” she notes.
Councilman John D’Amico adds “It’s a clean, green, parking machine.”
The Automated Garage was designed by sustainable design architecture firm LPA; the mechanical vehicle storage and retrieval system by Unitronics, and actual construction undertaken by T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc.
Automated parking is an innovative solution to parking challenges, requiring a smaller physical footprint than a conventional parking structure with the same capacity. That space savings resulted in the ability to create the community plaza, and helps to support reduced CO2 emissions with less time idling or circling for parking spots – the equivalent of taking 92 cars off the road every year. On the garage roof are photovoltaic solar panels that utilize sustainable material crafted from recycled grocery bags.
But environmental friendliness isn’t the only cool thing about this garage. It features a large glass wall on the east side that allows those on the street below to watch the mechanical shuttles ferry vehicles in and out of parking bays. There’s also a fixed-art installation here created by artist Ned Kahn. Kahn’s work, the beautiful “Net of Indra” is a grid of crystal spheres which reflect the moving mechanisms in the garage. It’s a perfect fusion of art and technology, and while a completely different piece, shares a common subject with Chris Burden’s mechanical car sculpture Metropolis II at LACMA in its reference to automotive culture and mechanical manipulation.
The Community Plaza has a park-like feel with trees and benches. A stage provides a setting for community events and concerts. The plaza is home to a beautiful triptych art banner which is a collaboration by street artist MONCHO1929 and West Hollywood’s current City Poet, Steven Reigns. The project consists of three vinyl banners that are designed to express freedom and motion, both captured in a single moment in time. The fluid nature of the artwork includes the incorporation of Reigns’ poem “Morning, West Hollywood” in the background of the piece, with the poems’ lines “Everyday we wake up, a brilliant and creative people in a beautiful city, our past and present intersecting, illuminated, full of promise and possibility.” Images include vibrant birds symbolizing hope and freedom – hummingbird, parakeet, sparrow – each expressing the diversity of people and the freedom of choice in the community’s culture.
Both garage and plaza make wonderful showcases for West Hollywood’s commitment to sustainable living and their ongoing community-focused cultural planning. They’ll be on display at the plaza’s first concert event on June 26th, a performance by jazz musician Jennifer Leitham – not to be missed.