A Historical Masterpiece Once Again, Now with Some Modern Touches
When the City of Fullerton, California, initiated a multi-million dollar, phased renovation of its 35-acre Hillcrest Park, it was guided by a central goal: “acknowledge Hillcrest Park as a significant community asset and reclaim its rightful place as the city’s premier park.”
The park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was created in the 1930s, one of many Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects that provided Americans coming out of the Depression with meaningful work. A large, formal stone fountain, circled with hand-placed stonework and walkways set amidst a large open lawn area, was at one time the centerpiece of the park, but the stonework was crumbling and the fountain, which hadn’t worked since the 1970s, was in disrepair. A long drought period took its toll on the mature trees throughout the park.
Studio-MLA’s Los Angeles office was contracted by the city to bring the park back to the “grandeur and activity it once experienced,” says Studio-MLA Principal Jeff Hutchins. In May of 2018, a renovated Great Lawn area, which included the fountain, a large lawn space, and walkways, was completed, bringing new life to a centerpiece of the city.
Landscape Forms’ Ashbery area lights fit naturally into the lawn space, echoing the park’s historical references. “The historical aspects of the park were important to retain and honor,” explains Studio-MLA’s Matt Lysne. “Ashbery lights have a traditional look that goes well with the bridge, the stone work, fountain, and walkways. But they are also modern, with a simple design and a formality in their lines.” The approximately 40 12-foot tall lights are placed throughout the lawn and fountain area and along the walkways, providing the necessary light to extend the park’s evening events.
The lights “create a statement and a jewel look at night,” says Lysne. “They are also dimmable, so the city has flexibility to light the park differently depending on time of day or activities happening within.”
“We often start with site furnishings to tell the story of a space,” says Lysne. A full-size sample of an Ashbery light delivered to the studio “provided us with inspiration as we designed the Great Lawn and lighting scheme.”