Western Asset Plaza Courtyards

Mar 18, 2011

Entering this huge commercial building via a walkway on Colorado, we’re aware of the right angles of sidewalk, walls and partitions. And then a chunky fountain set back from the street commands the realization that—ahh!—this is what public landscaping should be. Handsome, with clean lines and a cool gurgle, this glass-and-cement plaza is softened with wonderful gardens, all hidden from the street. Jumbo terracotta urns explode with strappy Mediterranean plants, palms and reeds smooth the geometric angles of raised planter beds, and water features abound.

In our favorite water feature, a concrete and Mexican-river-rock channel guides the water south, a miniature ode to the Californios’ knee-tiled zanja (channel) that brought water from the mountains. Here and there are lounge chairs for sunbathing and tables for lunching, and integrated seating is built into walkway planters stuffed with ornamental grasses. What a place to work—or at least to take breaks. It’s open to all, even those who don’t toil here.

385 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena



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