Getting There

Submitted by Los Angeles Metro

5+

Client: LA Metro

Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Senior Manager Transportation Planning, Arts & Design

Mayen Alcantara

LA Metro

Senior Manager Transportation Planning, Arts & Design

Letitia Ivins

LA Metro

Overview

Ball-Nogues Studio’s “Getting There” celebrates the extraordinary innovation of past, present and future transit systems in Los Angeles. Appearing as colored light cast across the north and west façades of Metro’s Maintenance of Way (MOW) Building in downtown Los Angeles, the dynamic mural changes subtly at different viewpoints and as the sun moves across the sky. From historic streetcars to contemporary trains and buses, the composition incorporates an array of intersecting vehicles culled from resources such as the Los Angeles Public Library and LA Metro Transportation Library and Archives. The pixelated imagery makes a clear reference to the visual quality of video games with over thirty thousand translucent acrylic chips that project from 83 integrated panels on the surface of the building. Tapping collective memory and imagination of public transportation in Los Angeles, the fluctuating reflections from these colored chips create an optical effect where independent vehicles seemingly illuminate and disappear.

Goals

LA Metro’s mission is to provide a world-class transportation system that enhances quality of life for all who live, work and play within LA County. Artists help reimagine transportation for the neighborhoods that we serve through a range of programs and opportunities

Gruen Associates designed Metro’s Location 64 Maintenance of Way (MOW) Building at South Santa Fe Avenue, adjacent to the City of Los Angeles’ new 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River to repair and maintain track vehicles that, in turn, maintain the Red and Purple Line
Gruen Associates designed Metro’s Location 64 Maintenance of Way (MOW) Building at South Santa Fe Avenue, adjacent to the City of Los Angeles’ new 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River, to repair and maintain track vehicles that, in turn, maintain the Red and Purple Line tracks, signals, subway train control, communication, fire protection and security systems. The new MOW building will increase maintenance capacity for servicing the subways and their increasing number of rail cars. The system has a number of buildings that Metro riders don’t directly enter but are crucial to moving them across the county. The new facility will also house the Rail Operations–Maintenance of Way Group and a section of Metro’s Rails Parts Storage Group.

Process

With Getting There, the artists show transit systems as an appearing and disappearing part of our history and speculate on its future. The building’s west façade features an integrated artwork by the artists Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio. Throughout the design process the artists worked closely with Gruen Associates and the Design Advisory Working Group (DAG) – composed of Arts District leaders and artists - to develop the artwork design and to seamlessly integrate the components into the building exterior. The multidisciplinary coordination created an artwork that celebrates the history of transportation in the area and is a prominent feature that helps root the building and architecture in the Arts District and adjacent communities. Together with the artists, Metro colleagues engaged the DAG in reviewing and commenting on the building’s exterior design. With the resulting design, Metro was honored with an award for excellence in sustainable building at the Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo for a Metro facility in downtown Los Angeles.