Sunny southern California is synonymous with transportation by car, but today as the auto industry struggles, there are large swaths of fallow concrete-covered expanses where car dealerships once thrived. In Glendale, California, a mile-long corridor known as the Brand Boulevard of Cars takes up over 33 acres for the exhibition, storage, and maintenance of new and used cars. Envisioning a better use for this prime real estate, Osborn Architects has a put forth a novel idea that would re-skin and re-purpose this area, essentially creating an urban forest out what is now a desolate wasteland.
Osborn Architects proposes to overhaul the surfaces of the asphalt lots, territorial fences, and oversized warehouses. The new Brand Boulevard is imagined as a corridor of productive skins that generate energy with solar and piezo-electric membranes. These vertical urban forests would sequester carbon and filter pollution, as well as store water. The entire boulevard would also be embedded with a new system of multi-mobility options, turning Brand Boulevard from a giant glorified parking lot into a functioning, green transit corridor connecting north to south.
Imagine if all the asphalt-coated car corridors across the nation could be transformed from wasteland to forest. This forward-thinking design idea earned Osborn a Citation Award from the Pasadena Foothill AIA Awards last year. Hopefully Osborn has planted the seeds for an eventual urban transformation in the future.