Project Description

4379 Elenda St, Culver City, CA 90230

Having survived since 1964 unscathed by several major earthquakes, the Robert Frost Auditorium at Culver City High School remains an engineering and architectural marvel. The Organic Modern-style building was designed by architectural firm Flewelling and Moody to have its soaring reinforced concrete roof (8,000 sq. ft.) drape over the structure like an enormous leaf. The building reminds many of the Theme Building at LAX, another demonstration of the architectural and artistic potential of reinforced concrete.

As magnificent as the structure was, the surrounding landscape was uninspiring.  The 4,000 sq. ft. sloped garden area was dominated by three mature Chinese elm trees (Ulmus parvifolia) and a 2′ thick mass of Algerian ivy. The ivy was removed and replaced with an Ocean Friendly Garden that was funded through a CA Proposition 50 IRWMP Grant administered by West Basin MWD and Surfrider Foundation.  The garden was completed in the Fall 2014.

A series of swales and berms encircle a mulch-covered gathering area under the elm trees.  These swales capture a large portion of the roof runoff from the adjacent structure and manage it across the landscape, mostly through sheet flow spreading and gravity.  The basins are planted with grasses and spring/fall bulbs, while the bermed areas are predominately covered with CA native plant material that is shade tolerant.

Ivy area water requirement = 100,000 gallons per year
OFG water requirement = 30,000 gallons per year