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The Los Angeles Metro station at Santa Monica and Vermont

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Project Description

1992 P/A Awards Citation
This Metro Red-Line station has an iconic presence in the visually chaotic surroundings of its Los Angeles neighborhood. Designed by Mehrdad Yazdani, Assoc. AIA, then with Ellerbe Becket (now the design principal of CannonDesign’s Yazdani Studio), the station features an almond-shaped canopy—internally illuminated and metal-clad—that looks like a streamlined piece of a train lifting above ground to beckon us aboard. The canopy’s unexpected design seems fitting in Los Angeles, the home of special effects and visual wizardry, and oddly contextual, given all of the metallic vehicles that pass by. And it serves its primary purpose well, effectively drawing people into the subterranean station, where elliptical louvers echo the lines of the canopy above.

The station also shows the impact that public investment can have on a community. The shops envisioned along one side of the station’s plaza would have brought more activity to that space than occurs now, but the rest of the plaza was built as designed, with a leaning glass elevator, tall red-painted light standards, and glass-block pavers that admit daylight to the station underfoot. Located a block from Los Angeles City College, the station has helped generate pedestrian activity and a healthy amount of commerce. If only the MTA would take better care of it.

The jury admired the boldness and “the minimal means used here to achieve a special character,” in Steven Holl’s words. “Architects should be more involved in projects like these,” he added—advice that this station supports.

1992 P/A Awards Jury
John Archea
Gregory Baldwin
Steven Holl, FAIA
Diane Legge Kemp, FAIA
Tom Peters
Wolf Prix, Hon. FAIA
Stanley Saitowitz
Jorge Silvetti
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