The Black Cat Garden at Sunset Junction, serves as a place of remembrance and reflection for the Silver Lake community, celebrating the site and moment where the modern gay civil rights movement began in the U.S. The space pays homage to the Black Cat protesters who, on a February night in 1967 (at the Black Cat Tavern across the street from the site), participated in possibly the largest gay rights demonstration to be held in the U.S. up to that point. The design uses landscape as an intermediary zone between the pastoral and the urban, the busy and the active, and the chaotic and the serene. A field of folded planes creates an urban mat, applied to the site and extruded, creating a raised plinth. The folding topography is a planar surface of recycled rubber. Circulation paths cut through the garden in a north-south orientation, offering physical and visual connections through lush landscaping, connecting Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards.


Los Angeles, CA


Outdoor Public Space


3,100 sq ft


Completed 2011





City of Los Angeles

Reinforced concrete planter walls adopt the shape of the section of the folded landscape. Built-in seating is an important design feature of the walls. Lit from underneath, the seats spotlight the decomposed granite paths. Rectangular Corten steel inserts define green slots, containing low-maintenance, drought-tolerant landscaping sprouting from the rubber groundcover. Clustering timber bamboo creates a dense green garden. From one perspective, an urban forest is evident within the city. Simultaneously, transparency and openness are maintained from the boulevards and along the transverse paths. Thirty-foot-tall columns of light are embedded within the flora, equipped with programmable LEDs, making a rainbow of  ever-changing effects possible.

© Tighe Architecture 2021

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