During 1995 and 1996, ten uniquely designed bike-racks were installed in downtown Los Angeles. This project, sponsored by the Los Angeles City Department of Transportation, was initiated at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in response to concerns that bicycling in downtown is inhibited because of fears of theft and safety. The racks were designed in a SCI-Arc class and funded by a $18,000 grant from the Cultural Trust Fund of the Community Redevelopment Agency. The racks create a sense of place, provide a secure place to leave bikes and enhance the appearance of downtown. Engineered to be maintenance free, they were built to last for at least ten years.
A list of 20 potential sites was initially prepared. As the project evolved, ten sites, including the three within the area covered by this guide, were selected based on their availability and potential use. City Hall East, which was not on the initial list, became a site for a pair of racks because the property is publicly owned.
The initial design for the Children's Museum could not be installed because of anchoring problems. Randall Wilson, instructor of the SCI-Arc course, then designed the inverted-heart shaped racks for the site. Inspired by his four-year-old daughter drawings, he felt that racks located at places where children go should have a child's design. Another inverted-heart-shape rack was installed as part of this project at the Chinatown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. All the inverted-heart-shaped racks are constructed of 2" steel pipe coated with zinc.
Wilson also designed the pair of racks at the Geffen Contemporary that appear like sections of a giant bicycle chain.
Unlike the free-standing racks at the Children's Museum and the Geffen Contemporary, the two at City Hall East, designed by Nida Chesonis, are fastened to the building. Because of their unusual shape, a small plaque identifies the installation as bike racks.
Locations of bike racks:
- Children's Museum, Randall Wilson, 1995, 4'2"w x 4'h x 1'2" deep each.
- MOCA-Geffen Temporary, Randall Wilson, 1995, 3'9" h x 4" w x 4" d each
- City Hall East, Nida Chesonis, 1995, 5'h x 3'w x 3'd
The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, September 1997.
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