Citadel Shopping Center, Commerce, CA, USA

Location: Commerce, CA, USA
Client: Trammel Crow Company
Status: Completed 1991
Awards: American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award, 1991

The Citadel site in City of Commerce, CA, formerly the Uniroyal Tire and Rubber Plant, has captured the imagination of generations of Southern Californians. The factory was built in the 1920’s. The decorated Assyrian temple and bas relief front walls were preserved by the developer of this mixed use site. The landscape design needed to retain the wall and create a design in a compatible context. Additionally, it was important to maintain the mystery of the wall while at the same time creating a design that would attract users to the retail, office, and hotel buildings.

At the center of the historic wall, adjacent to the Ziggurat temple, the wall has been breached to reveal an oasis of date palms aligned in rows on a patterned plaza. The buildings are located along two sides and at the terminus of the 150 foot wide by 700 foot long central plaza evoking a civic or ceremonial space. Pedestrian and vehicular spaces are separated by specially designed tire–shaped rings which surround each of the palm trees. The checkerboard paving is composed of a series of colored concrete rectangular pavers and visually slides under the plantings and other plaza features. The hotel and entrance to the retail court are on a cross axis framed by buildings and palms. The retail court recreates a Middle Eastern Bazaar – a space of shade trees and paths, awnings and water. All of these elements and the design concept create an environment evoking the mystery of another time and place. A formal allée of flowering trees connects the central space to the planned hotel. Special pavement links the plaza to the hotel motor court. Parking for the project is designed to recall the agricultural groves of Southern California and the Mediterranean. Row plantings of dry, grayish olive trees contrast dramatically against the green palm oasis.