The ML+A team visited Monterrey, Mexico to prepare for their lastest project. More news and images to come!


Women in the Dirt

May 17, 2011

Women in the Dirt highlights the work of seven award-winning women who have made their mark in the field: Mia Lerher, Andrea Cochran, Cheryl Barton, Isabelle Greene, Katherine Spitz, Pamela Palmer, and Lauren Melendrez. Though each has a unique body of work, their concerns overlap in the realm of sustainability and enduring design.

Director Carolann Stoney conceived of the idea for this documentary while she herself was studying landscape architecture. Her short film on the subject received the 2009 American Society of Landscape Architects Student Honors Award in Communication.

Director of Photography: Mark Gray

The parking lot at the Los Angeles Zoo was redeveloped as a Proposition O sustainable project. The perimeter bio swale was preserved, new bio cells were added along with other permeable paving systems and over a hundred new trees were planted. A new interpretive plaza will inform visitors about the link between stormwater quality and the nearby Los Angeles River. The existing promenade between the Autry Center and Zoo is greatly enhanced to provide a pleasant walking connection between the two important cultural institutions.

Jeff Hutchins gives a tour to Architecture students
Palm trees line the entrance
Permeable Paving

The once gray expansive lot has been transformed into a framework of native California greenere, welcoming Zoo-goers while being environmentally friendly.


Under Construction

The historic site is creating a new exciting urban destination with over 3.5 acres of outdoor exhibits that will foster nature within the city.  The $30-million project’s elements include a redesigned front façade with entry bridge, pedestrian-friendly terraces and communal areas, a new two-level car park, and a major landscape program encompassing 3.5-acres of recovered green spaces with programmed gardens and outdoor learning environments. The outdoor garden spaces are created in collaboration with landscape Mia Lehrer + Associates. Currently under construction, the North Campus is set to open 2011/2012, and is overseen by project manager Cordell Corporation.

Phase 1 of the project is set to open in June 2011.

Client: Natural History Museum Foundation

Design Team: Mia Lehrer + Associates

Co Architect

Pace Wallace Laboratories

Stephen Mayo

Green Shield Ecology Inc.

Project Area: 3.5 Acres

Completion: 2013

For a live view of the project in progress click here:

ML+A designed this sustainable park as an urban watershed demonstration project that accomodates community and school recreational programs, integrated with an extensive netwrok of introduced natural features and ecosystems. Located at the edge of a desne residential zone, the park incorporates active recreation, trails, water features, picnice areas, and a children’s adventure area in native habitat landscapes.

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Mountains Recreation Authority
Los Angeles Unified School District

Design Team:
Mia Lehrer + Associates
KPFF Consulting Engineers
ERW Design
ME Engineers
Sweeny and Associates
Ciaran O’Halloran

Completed: 2008

ML+A was responsible for renovating and updating the cabana patios and the pool garden landscape, featuring a landmark David Hockney painted pool.  We worked closely with the City Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles to ensure contemporary designs supported the historical elements of the hotel. Natural stone paving, tropical plants, fire bowls and chaise lounges are frequently inundated with minimally clad sun worshipers sipping cocktails at the pool side. 

Landscape Architecture by Mia Lehrer + Associates

Cutting Gardens

The Los Angeles River Master Plan is 32 miles of a civic piece of infrastructure that has the opportunity to transform the city. It’s 32 miles in length, but the sphere of influence on either side of this river ends up being thousands of miles, and involves thousands of streetscapes and potential parks in potential new communities. Economic opportunities relate to new jobs. There’s also housing and alternative modes of transportation. People are already using the river, which is just this channel, as a bikeway. We found that people are using it to commute. The river overlay zone has the potential to change the face of the many communities that it traverses — 32 miles is many communities. 

The question is how to break that down into a really effective set of changes, and bring people from their schools and libraries down to the river. Another questoin is how do you actually make the area more connected. How can we use green streets and affect change across the whole overlay zone, not just with signs that say, the river’s down there, but actually make it a new kind of space within the city that has a different sense of place. We are proposing to plant thousands and thousands of Sycamore trees there.  

The federal mandate is to deal with flood protection and water quality. There are huge fines coming down in the next decade. Starting in 2012, the Federal Government will issue guidelines on water quality, outlining quality standards for the water you’re emitting. Anything that eventually goes back to the ocean has to achieve a certain level of water quality. The motivation is to create projects that enable you to clean water, but at the same time provide other benefits. Instead of putting a filter at the end of a pipe, you can actually clean the water through a park with a higher benefit to the community. It’s a wonderful large-scale project, an infrastructure project that can have multi-benefits.

-Mia Lehrer

Wilshire Water Project

El Toro Marine Base runway, site of the future Orange County Great Park, 2007

“I grew up in Salvador thinking I was going to build things. Frederick Olmstead was always my hero. For me, he was larger than life, larger than God. Yet the scale of his projects seemed overwhleming to me. I never thought I would have a chance to do anything on the size of his big parks… yet now I am working on the thirty-two miles of the Los Angles River and the fourteen-hundred-acre park at the El Toro airfield. What an opprotunity.”