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How Studio-MLA learned to embrace the potential of the sports stadium

Among Southern California landscape architecture firms, Los Angeles-based Studio-MLA (formerly Mia Lehrer + Associates) is arguably highbrow. Known for public spaces like the 1,300-acre Orange County Great Park and Vista Hermosa Park in an underserved section of Los Angeles, and transformative master plans for infrastructuralized landscapes like the Los Angeles River and the Silver Lake Reservoir, the firm has a serious approach to the needs of Southern California and the services landscape architecture can provide. It’s complex, civic-minded work built out of decades of engagement in the community.

So it’s somewhat unexpected to see some of Studio-MLA’s recent work diversify into the mass market world of professional sports. The firm is currently working on three separate sports stadium projects in the Los Angeles area, starting with a reimagining of Dodger Stadium in 2012, a stalled urban development turned National Football League stadium in 2014 in Inglewood, and the stadium for a Major League Soccer expansion team, the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), in Exposition Park. Within five years, Studio-MLA has become the unofficial stadium landscape architect of Los Angeles. ...