Public art and stormwater management go hand-in-hand in the Riverside Roundabout, an intersection that’s far more functional and eye-catching than your average traffic circle. Designed by local art studio Greenmeme, the Riverside Roundabout is the “first modern roundabout in Los Angeles” that doubles as a stormwater detention landscape vegetated with native, water-wise plants that also help fight air pollution. Powered with solar energy, the bio-retention installation is also marked with giant egg-shaped granite sculptures with faces modeled on actual community members.
Installed in 2017, the Riverside Roundabout is located in Los Angeles’ Cypress Park neighborhood at the intersection of Riverside Drive and San Fernando Road. In addition to its bio-retention functions, the traffic circle features a wide array of other sustainable elements including a 25,000-gallon rainwater cistern, a natural and durable materials palette and a solar tracking photovoltaic system that powers irrigation, lighting and the artwork.
“We designed a stormwater detention landscape, including an outer ring of vegetated pavers that serves as the required truck apron,” the designers explained. “Curb cuts and a sculpted topography capture and detain stormwater from the bridge. The landscape uses local, water-wise plants that are typical of the riparian LA river corridor and are irrigated with reclaimed wastewater.”
The focal point of the durable and low-maintenance roundabout is the nine egg-shaped stone sculptures built from Academy Black granite sourced from California. Granite supplier and fabricator Coldspring used CNC cutting equipment to slice the stone into individual slabs that were then assembled together into the sculptures. Each piece features a face of a community member randomly chosen over the course of two years. The roundabout is capable of capturing and treating a 10-year rainfall event equating approximately 500,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from the adjacent bridge and roads.
Images by Makena Hunt