As American cities look for ways to revitalize their downtowns, one of the most challenging problems has been how to deal with obsolete shopping malls built in the 1960s and ‘70s. Lacking scale and inward-facing, these malls have had an especially damaging effect on their surroundings. EE&K’s design for Paseo Colorado transformed the failed Pasadena Plaza in downtown Pasadena into a vibrant, mixed-use precinct, ultimately creating what The Los Angeles Times has called a “model for urban redevelopment across the country.”
The plan turned the mall inside out, knitting the new development back into the downtown street grid. By introducing a mix of offices, hospitality, retail, and residential above the existing retail, the design re-used much of the mall’s existing structure as well as its underground parking garage. The architecture of Paseo Colorado is uniquely contextual, with varied facades that reinforce the street grid and echo Pasadena’s distinctive palette of pale yellows and pinks, while a lively variety of trellises and canopies create a rich play of shadow.