Los Angeles Park Wins ASLA Landmark Award

Vista Hermosa Natural Park in Los Angeles, designed by Studio-MLA, has won the ASLA 2023 Landmark Award. The Landmark Award recognizes distinguished landscape architecture projects completed between 15 and 50 years ago that retain their original design integrity and benefit their surrounding communities.

Completed in 2008, Vista Hermosa was the first public park built in downtown Los Angeles in more than 100 years. Previously an oil field located in an urban area without much green space, the park provides residents of a dense, primarily working-class Latine neighborhood with "a window to the Mountains," opportunities for recreation, access to nature and quiet reprieve. The project was a partnership between Studio-MLA and their clients Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Mia Lehrer and Studio-MLA have always been on the leading edge of landscape architecture,” said ASLA President Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA. “Fifteen years ago, Vista Hermosa Natural Park was ahead of its time in both community social benefits and environmental benefits. Those contributions continue today.”

“Vista Hermosa Natural Park is a perfect example of the impact landscape architects can have for a community—transforming a toxic brownfield to a beautiful community asset.” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen. “This park is indeed a landmark of significance.”

“From an environmental perspective, the park is far ahead of its time and full of firsts for Los Angeles. We have a water collection system under the meadow, a cistern beneath a permeable pavement parking lot, green roofs on the restrooms and offices, a synthetic turf soccer field, and drought-tolerant native species throughout the site, organized into three specific habitat areas,” said Mia Lehrer, FASLA, founder of Studio-MLA. “There is a sense of place here, ‘a window to the mountains’ for community and families, quinceañeras, yoga classes, weddings, and a vista of downtown that’s really beloved and featured in films and photos. It was a forgotten oil field in a park-deficient neighborhood, and it has been reimagined into a thriving 10-acre wonderland. In every way, Vista Hermosa is a landmark that has changed the city and the experiences of people who live here.”

The Landmark Award was announced as part of the ASLA 2023 Professional Awards. Thirty-four winners in multiple categories, including many park sites, showcase innovation and represent the highest level of achievement in the landscape architecture profession.