Rafael Sampaio Rocha

Rafael Sampaio Rocha

Los Angeles, CA, US




Orchard was installed in 2015, but it will fully mature over time.

Parks today are popularly associated with outdoor sports facilities and manufactured playscapes; they are primarily considered places for recreation. By way of landscape design and sculpture, our aim was to reframe El Cariso Park in the context of the agricultural history of the San Fernando Valley.  Orchard recalls Sylmar’s history of olive groves and olive oil production.

The features that define Orchard are a single olive tree set within a sculptural basin and surrounded by apparatuses that reference historic devices used in olive oil manufacturing. The basin is made of “ball-n-socket” pre-cast concrete bricks that nest to form a curving planter that follows the contours of the landscape. The apparatuses tell the story of the primary stages of olive oil production – picking, sorting, pressing, and grinding. Visitors to the park can see the sculpture as a source of food, a platform for education, a place of historical memory, or a landscape for climbing and play. By inviting different interpretations and interactions, Orchard helps familiarize visitors of all ages with the history of the region.  

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Status: Built
Location: Sylmar, CA, US
My Role: Project Manager, Fabricator, Construction Supervisor
Additional Credits: With Ball Nogues Design Studio

Team: Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues, Juan Robledo, Michael Fontana, Rafael Sampaio Rocha

Photo by Scott Mayoral
Photo by Scott Mayoral