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The 2 Freeway Is Colorful And Eco-Minded In This Cool Concept Design

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Christopher Hawthorne, L.A. Times architecture critic, invited a couple design firms to reimagine the L.A. freeway. He presented on Thursday a concept by Michael Maltzan Architecture; in the renderings, the Arroyo Seco Bridge (which is part of the 134 freeway) has been transformed into a kind of eco-friendly tunnel with crass-hatched walls, hanging vegetation, and solar panels laid out on the roof.

Today, Hawthorne has introduced a new concept by Chris Reed of Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Reed refigured the tail-end of the 2 freeway as a sustainable public space, something akin to the High Line in New York City.

According to Metro, the 2 Freeway was originally constructed to connect with the 101. That never happened, however, as the project was opposed by community groups. As a result, the 2 freeway is more or less a giant off-ramp that descends into the border between Silver Lake and Echo Park.

Reed's idea is to transform the end of the 2 Freeway into an elevated park space, one that uses ingenuous methods to give back to the surrounding environ. Scott Mitchell, media director at Stoss Landscape Urbanism, told LAist that the team sought to "re-imagine the LA freeway not only to better embrace LA's culture of hair-down individualism and freedom, but to project forward a 21st century manifestation." The design incorporates a number of eco-minded features that include:

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  • A fog fence designed to intercept water particles.
  • Cooling towers that, on hot days, convert stored water into a light mist.
  • "Dew harvesters" that collect atmospheric water and re-circulate it for irrigation.
  • Giant, shade-giving structures that are also wrapped in photovoltaic skin that can collect solar energy.
  • A surface that is covered with carbon-absorbing paving that can trap pollutants.

Also, the area beneath the structure will have an "adventure park" and bike paths that lead to Elysian Park and the Los Angeles River. For now, these designs are just flights of fancy, of course. But hopefully they continue the dialogue for sustainable spaces and a shift away from asphalt and concrete.