CIfA 2017 Commendation: Century City Square, Century City – Vivid Architects


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Public space has the responsibility to be mutable, with moments for intimacy, spaces for gathering and the ability to be a backdrop for sacred and profane moments. Urban sprawl in its various guises has often led to the erosion of a sense of urban generosity, of spaces for serendipity and joy, as well as contiguous space-making.

With these as considerations the public square in Century City is commendable in several aspects.

Well-considered proportions allow the varied architecture, which defines its edges, to stand apart, each of their language thus not individually critical to the success of the space. Urban furniture has been finely detailed and inserted into the edges of the public space, providing for variety, interest and moments of retreat from the overall totality of the space.

A playful pavilion frames the western aspect and eliminates the sobriety that is often associated with contemporary design of public space. The desire to strip any accouterments that do not have any obvious commercial purpose in the public realm, is thus resisted.

The programmatic response of the adjacent architecture, by way of creating a culinary court, further adds to the delight of the square, which also serves as an outdoor annex to the convention center.

In conclusion, the square accomplishes the delicate task of advancing the cause of joy, comfort and relief in a context where such ideals are often subservient to the revenue-generating imperatives of lettable space in a prime retail environment. As such it serves as a noteworthy example for the creation of convivial and diverse interstitial urban spaces so as to transform and the noble task of city-making.

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