A reinvigorated community space for the largest public housing project west of the Mississippi
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DETAILS

LocationLos Angeles, California, United States
ClientNBBJ
Size24,808 sf

Originally designed in 1955 by architect Paul Revere Williams, Nickerson Gardens is a 1,066-unit apartment complex in Watts, South Los Angeles — the largest social housing project west of the Mississippi. Core to Williams’ vision was an emphasis on shared open space, but its central playground, neglected for years, fell into a state of disrepair. In collaboration with NBBJ and the musician Flea, SWA’s Los Angeles studio provided pro-bono advisory services to design the landscape for an entirely refurbished playground — including slides, swings, misting features, shade structures, and an adult exercise facility. Complete with water-efficient plantings, the playground brings 17,656 square feet of vibrant new community space to the heart of Nickerson Gardens, designed with durability, heat resistance, and multi-generational use in mind.

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