“While embodying larger ideals of good governance, such as community building and accessibility, progressive municipal architecture can also reflect local context in a way institutions cannot.
In Culver City, California, WHY has designed the landscape for an existing neo-mission-style courthouse using native-species plantings that respond to drought conditions notorious for killing the area’s lawns. Native plants such as salvia, alumroot, Little Sur coffeeberry, ceanothus, silver bush lupine, and sand dune sedge need less irrigation and blend naturally into the surrounding hillsides, improving water usage as well as adding visual interest to the site.
The landscaping acts as a connective tissue, binding the property to its surrounding streetscape. “We asked, what does it mean to have a city hall?” said Mark Thomann, a director at wHY. “It has to be civic and inviting, with layers of garden and open space.” Linking Culver Boulevard’s robust pedestrian traffic with the adjacent residential neighborhood, the landscaping responds to its context: It serves as a flexible, open space attuned to the site conditions.”