June 18, 2015

Meléndrez’s work was awarded a Community Impact Award at the 45th Los Angeles Architectural Awards, hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC). This year’s Community Impact Award focused on best practices in the field of landscape designs that have successfully utilized the LADWP California Friendly Landscape Incentive Program to acknowledge the severity of our region’s drought.

For the Long Beach Airport Modernization design, Meléndrez selected appropriate plants, together with proper plant layout and efficient irrigation-delivery systems, to address water conservation considerations while strengthening the experiential narrative.

The overall design narrative was to create an open-air space that offers respite from the hectic experience of modern air travel that elevates public perception of the City’s distinctive character and enhances its appeal as a transit hub. Long Beach’s unique geography linked to its waterways, climate and cultural heritage were inspiration for the landscape design.

The landscape is composed of two intersecting open-air concourses designed to evoke the character of coastal and riparian waterfront in Long Beach. An allée of California Fan Palms recalls the iconic skyline of coastal esplanades that run along the strand. Beneath the palms, undulant beds of Agaves abstract the color and movement of the sea. Wooden benches resemble palettes of stacked lumber, designed to remind travelers of the cargo transported at the City’s coastal dockyards. An ipe wood ‘river walk’ highlights the connection between the two separate wings of the airport and offers a nostalgic reminder of the wooden piers and boardwalks of Long Beach’s past.

Accommodating functional requirements such as safety, security and circulation, while maintaining an inviting sense of human-scale, was the general design approach for the landscape upgrades. The new outdoor areas were articulated to relax weary travelers, and to make a positive impact on users. Space required for efficient pedestrian circulation was buffered from space required for sedentary purposes to minimize conflict of use, large expanses of required paving were patterned to relieve monotony, and an engaging relationship between landscape and hardscape was created to unify the space and enhance interest.

The project has also been awarded Aviation Project of the Year, California Transportation Foundation, 2013; Quality of Life Design Award, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Southern California Chapter, 2014; and Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation, League of California Cities, 2014.