At the intersection of Obama and Exposition Boulevard, is a “Shell” gas station (3645 Crenshaw Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90016) that will be surrounded by a new transit oriented development project on three sides. The new development project is called Crenshaw Crossing and is expected to be completed in 2023. The existing gas station will most likely still be in operation long after the completion of this project. As we begin to densify Los Angeles, perhaps these gas stations will act as future urban “Land Banks” that provides community assets in the near term while banking on a permanent development in the future. The design proposal seek to alleviate the current challenges that the city of Los Angeles is currently facing: poverty & income inequality, the lack of renewable energy, food deserts, and an overall lack of public open space.
The gas station canopy could provide an opportunity for a “Community Solar Array” on top and “Funnel Columns” to capture and store rainwater below. The funnels connect to the underground storage tanks where former gasoline storage tanks are remediated for the storage of gray water to use for the Station’s gardens.
To provide fresh and local food production, the existing car wash facility will be reconfigured into the “Wash Farm”; a greenhouse farm on top and a aquaponic indoor garden below. This could provide a local food source for the neighborhood and help address the problems of food deserts in the Los Angeles area.
To address the lack of open spaces in Los Angeles, the gas station can provide space for an urban forest, especially for children who need places to play. The “Fossil Fuel playscape” also pokes fun at the gas station typology, providing a rubberized black play-surface (representing oil) with fossil stencils of various prehistoric flora and fauna, in order to teach kids about fossil fuels in a playful way.
Finally, the “Community Marketplace” can provide various functions from a corner store, cafes, a food pantry, and even public restrooms for anyone to use. Produce grown on site can also be sold at the marketplace. The Crenshaw Community marketplace will provide a vital public space for the neighborhood providing real benefits to the neighborhood with the future of urban development in mind.