2013 Grants Challenge

PLUNGE into the waters of the LA River

LA Riverside Country Club and the PLUNGE promotes the pleasures and benefits of recreation and privilege for everyone; It is an "inclusive" club. The club and its swimming pool/industrial cistern will be a located next to the LA River sited between industrial uses on vacant land. Instead of a country club with bermuda grass and membership dues, the club promotes the idea that environmental well-being, physical and social, is a right.

The center piece of the Club is the PLUNGE that is both cistern, swimming pool and art work. The name PLUNGE harkens back to the great democratic municipal pools. It is a highly engineered ISO shipping container pool with surrounding sit-able decks and a built-in digital projection system that will put participants into an image scene with the LA River. Not incidentally, the pool is also a massive cistern for industrial building roof waters. Already, arrangements have been made for procuring up to 50,000 sq. foot of roof waters. During the first summer of operation, the waters for swimming will most likely be gathered from municipal water supply, though the slight possibility exists that a filtration system may be used to prepare pumped LA River water.

The subsequent year or years, all waters will come from industrial building roof nearby. The cistern/pool is completely self-contained system within the container, including pumps, valves, filtration and heating with solar supplement. During winter months waters will be released to landscape as necessary with an automated system. The technologies of the system will be developed experimentally during the term of the project. The project is for a two year term with the possibility of a third year. When the project is finished the PLUNGE is being designed in such a way as to be transportable to another site or situation and set up with 2 days.

The LA Riverside Country Club is not a club with dues. Instead, it is a situation where a series of popup events will be held. There is already an extensive list of ideas that have been generated by the core team members. Some of the ideas include: Urban camping for local youth to be held on the site, old time games like horseshoes, badminton, and bocci ball, educational seminars and design exercises onsite brought by team members or academics with interest in the LA River, events or meetings of LA River entities who lack a direct meeting place at the river, such as the Friends of the Los Angeles River and the LA Revitalization Corporation. Music is planned as well as outdoor project. A series of planned community swim events will be held.

Ultimately, this project is to demonstrate and test a large scale cistern as an excuse to cool off on the Eastside in summer.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

The individuals associated with the project have two avenues of connection and work together:

1. Community activism in Elysian Valley. In this respect the core resident participants have worked together on several environmental issues. These include organize a large public response to environmental justice issues with air quality, doing work to identify and cause watershed violators to be permitted and improve their practices in the local area.

2. Professional work on design concepts for appropriate landscape and built environments in the LA River region. The architects and artists on various conceptual plans for LA River centric projects.

This project would synthesize relationships developed over several years between the members of the team by giving focus to an on-the ground experimental project.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


Core Group-

Steven Appleton(resident and artist)

Cecilia Dominguez (life long resident, community activist)

Jesus Garcia (life long resident, youth, community activist)

Grove Pashley (resident, professional photographer, environmental activist)

Astrid Diehl (resident and landscape architect)

Alexander Robinson (landscape architect and educator)

Linda Taalman (architect and educator)

Michael Wacht (architect)


Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch (expect support)

Elysian Valley Neighborhood Council (expect support)

Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

1. Does PLUNGE function (does it work for swimming, as a cistern and how much water is segregated by this process?)

2. Is PLUNGE and evocative object that encourages dialog and thought?

3. Are we able to attract, create, manage a diversity of events?

4. Does the Country Club/PLUNGE draw an audience to the river and do the events/objects influence them to consider the environment of the river.

5. Does the overall environment in balance with its outreach also directly serve and benefit the diverse local community?

6. Was it fun?

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Our project will :

1. Provide a space for informal gathering and recreation in Elysian Valley community.

2. Opportunity for the local community to host and directly involve in the numerous planning initiatives around LA River development.

3. Signature art with environmental benefits that will draw the general public to the river and encourage dialog.

4. Direct improvement to watershed by segregation and release of up to 30,000 gallons of storm water v. release over dirty streets and work areas.

5. Incubate ideas of community members, design professionals and artists.

6. Allow experimentation with novel ways to handle waters in terms of landscape design.

7. Allow experimentation /investigation of control technologies for large urban cisterns.

8. Be FUN.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

It would be a success if community design processes were in place so that the benefits of development (such as the LA River zone) are broadly spread.

It would be a success if there where a great expansion in park land and exercise opportunities.

It would be a success if waters such as from large roofs are captured and used instead of sent down the channel.

It would be a success if harmful and abusive watershed practices are eliminated.

It would be a great big success if I can dive into the LA River without having to take antibiotics afterwards.