May 10, 2018

Students Exhibit Concepts for One Arroyo Project at Pasadena Public Library

Currently on View Through May 25, 2018, “Reimagining The Arroyo Seco”

Redefines and Provokes Our Relationship to Nature

ArtCenter College of Design will exhibit student concepts for reimagining The Arroyo Seco at Pasadena’s Central Library from April 25 through May 25, 2018. The exhibit culminates the work of Environmental Design students following a prompt set forth by the Arroyo Advisory Group, a citizen-led effort to develop a cohesive vision for the Arroyo Seco and an implementation plan based on best practices and public input.

The Arroyo Advisory Group, of which ArtCenter Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. and ArtCenter President Lorne M. Buchman are members, called upon ArtCenter students to help reimagine how the Arroyo’s natural habitats, resources and historic sites could be preserved, enhanced and connected by a potentially extraordinary end-to-end trail system—effectively creating a singular vision for the canyon’s three distinct areas: the Hahamongna watershed, the central Arroyo’s recreation hub, and the rivers of the lower Arroyo.

Environmental Design Department Chair David Mocarski and Professor James Meraz, quickly realized the task was in perfect alignment with their Sustainable Design Studio course, the goal of which is to create a heightened awareness in sustainability and ecological issues and to create innovative solutions for present and forward thinking scenarios.

“The projects developed by ArtCenter’s Environmental Design Studio are somewhat provocative suggestions of how the Arroyo Seco can be reimagined and enhanced for the next generation of users,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. “I encourage the public to visit the Central Library exhibit and see for themselves the many ways in which the Arroyo evokes inspiration in others.”

“This project gave our students an incredible opportunity to engage with community members and learn about the history and daily use of one of our cherished, natural resources,” said Mocarski. “In this course, we encourage students to design unique spatial experiences that are sustainable, eco-friendly and environmentally responsible, with the potential to encourage a critical dialogue and a new stewardship and symbiosis in our relationship to our Southern California eco-system.”

Meraz, who led the class and curated the library exhibit, added, “The Pasadena Central Library offers us a fantastic, community-oriented space to exhibit our student projects. Our students’ enthusiasm for the project is evident in their careful research and thoughtful design solutions, resulting in four diverse design narratives that celebrate and elevate this vital ecological zone with sustainable wayfinding trail systems, pavilion structures, hardscape, furniture and lighting for an enriched nature experience. We hope their designs inspire the next evolution of the great Arroyo.”

The projects on display include:

  • Ancient Waters by Heidi Hou and Li Liu – Inspired by the Tongva, Ancient Waters introduces visitors to these early settlers and their symbiotic relationship with our natural resources through a series of compelling installations and trail systems.
  • Petram by Hannah Kwon and Andres Zavala – Petram is a new ecosystem—a micro-architecture born as an initiative to establish a contrasting relationship between humans and their macro surroundings in nature—to encourage exploration, relaxation and contemplation.
  • River Stories by Ashely Chen and Julie Lin – An interactive timeline is embedded within the trail system, providing a truly immersive experience into the history of the Arroyo Seco, allowing visitors to discover the region’s River Stories and its heritage of life.
  • Tri-Seco by Yerin Bang and Larry Zhan – Tri-Seco creates a relationship between the three diverse areas of the Arroyo on a phenomenological level, in context with surrounding natural elements and embedding an iconic symbol of each part of the Arroyo into the design.

Central Library is located at 285 E Walnut Street in Pasadena. The exhibit will be on display between April 25 and May 25, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

While ArtCenter exhibits these concepts at the library, The Arroyo Advisory Group is embarking on two important phases of the One Arroyo project. The first is a fundraising assessment to determine the likelihood of philanthropy’s ability to help sustain the Arroyo into the future. And for the second, the City recently approved Arroyo Advisory Group’s recommendation to implement a concept created by HR&A consulting group to demonstrate what restoration of the trail might look like at two key locations in the Arroyo.

Pasadena Central Library

Pasadena’s Central Library ( was designed by the firm of Myron Hunt and H.C. Chambers, the architects of the Huntington Library and Occidental College. The Pasadena Central Library is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been the location for several major motion pictures. The facility is visited by an average of more than 55,000 people each month. Over 728,000 items are held at the Central Library and the nine branch libraries. The library collection offers a broad choice of circulating print and non-print materials aimed at meeting the informational needs of the Pasadena community. Central Library has strong general reference, business, local history and periodicals collections. A high priority is placed on acquiring information and resources about Pasadena, past and present.

Environmental Design at ArtCenter

For more than 20 years, ArtCenter’s Environmental Design Department has established itself as a leading international program in the design of global furniture, spatial design and home products, exhibiting throughout the world at leading furniture fairs—including Milan, Köln, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York and Chicago—and participating in studio projects focused on the spatial experience. Students focus on delivering effective, inclusive environments using sustainable materials and manufacturing practices by tackling a broad spectrum of projects, including branded retail sites, theme restaurants, exhibition design and residential spaces. Under the direction of David Mocarski, who has served as Department Chair since 2004, the curriculum continues to evolve and now leads toward a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science degree. ArtCenter’s Environmental Design students and alumni receive the tools and knowledge they need to influence change in the design world. Department alumni are located throughout the world, providing design leadership for leading manufacturers, design studios and architectural firms.

ArtCenter College of Design
Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design ( is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round educational programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

Jered Gold
ArtCenter College of Design
626 396-2251

Catherine Hany
Pasadena Central Library
626 744-4066

Photo of "Reimaging The Arroyo Seco" Student Concept Exhibit at Pasadena Public Library
Family members enjoy ArtCenter student concepts for reimagining The Arroyo Seco on exhibit at Pasadena’s Central Library through May 25, 2018. Photo credit: © ArtCenter College of Design/James Meraz
Photo of “Reimagining The Arroyo Seco” exhibit at Pasadena
ArtCenter student concepts for reimagining The Arroyo Seco on exhibit at Pasadena’s Central Library through May 25, 2018. Photo credit: © ArtCenter College of Design/Juan Posada
Photo of “Reimagining The Arroyo Seco” exhibit at Pasadena
“Reimagining The Arroyo Seco,” on view at the Pasadena Central Library through May 25, 2018, redefines and provokes our relationship to nature. © ArtCenter College of Design/Juan Posada
Photo of “Reimagining The Arroyo Seco” exhibit at Pasadena
Visit the Pasadena Central Library to see the work of ArtCenter students in the “Reimagining The Arroyo Seco” exhibit on view through May 25, 2018. Photo credit: © ArtCenter College of Design/Juan Posada