Designing Landscape in the Spirit of HOLA


By Stephanie Silberman, HOLA Development & Communications Manager


On a crisp October day, second year college students in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona gathered excitedly to present their midterm projects to a panel of jurors, including HOLA’s CEO Tony Brown and Founder Mitch Moore. The studio walls were covered with 74 landscape renderings of an entryway sequence for HOLA’s iconic new Arts and Recreation Center, located in Lafayette Park. Tony and Mitch also saw a familiar face, HOLA alumni Isaac, a senior studying Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design, who had heard about the collaborative work by fellow students.

“When I walked in and the walls were filled of HOLA renderings, it was overwhelming like a wave washed over me.” Mitch recalled, “I was really blown away. It was more than a class... the thinking, creativity and intelligence behind each design to make HOLA a better place. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.” Tony, in the video below, adds that the experience was “overwhelmingly positive.”

The salon-style review was a somewhat informal exchange as 74 second year college students presented their project designs and thought process to the jurors. They had all previously visited HOLA’s campus to tour the construction site and surrounding park. During the visit, the students were eager to learn more, asking a lot of questions about the various programs offered to youth in the neighborhood. Many of the students were impressed with HOLA’s holistic services, having never encountered a similar organization impacting youth in such a comprehensive and positive way. They all explored and interacted with the existing buildings, responding strongly to the natural park landscape and the art covered walls of HOLA. Some students wanted to tie in architectural elements of the older Bryson and Royale buildings; while others were interested in learning more about the engaged community at HOLA.


Driven by a concern to improve the daily lives of children and families living in the inner city, all the walls were filled with the spirit of HOLA as students articulated their thinking behind each project design. It was inspiring to see a younger generation care about doing something good for the community.

“These students were so proud of their work,” Mitch comments. “It’s just amazing. The new generation thinking about a better future and HOLA is at the center of their thoughts.”

November 2, 2018