San Diego Could Be America’s Next Architectural Beacon
The $1.2 billion mixed-use complex will be one of the last California coastal areas to gentrify, while featuring a 480-foot observation tower that developers hope will rival the London Eye
With projects underway from some of the world’s top design firms, San Diego is poised to become the next great architectural and design hot spot on the West Coast. More than $64 billion in development projects are in progress or close to approval for the city’s downtown waterfront, with the goal of revitalizing the area while staying true to the ethos of the hip, laid-back vacation mecca. As Port President and CEO Randa Coniglio told the S_an Diego Union-Tribune_, “I think we have more going on all at once than we probably have ever had in the port’s history in terms of contemplated development.” Leading the way is a dynamic 41-story luxury residential building, the Pacific Gate by Bosa, set to be completed in late 2017. Designed by New York–based firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, the structure boasts a dramatic curved form conceived to evoke the neighboring Pacific coastline.
The long-neglected Navy Broadway Complex will be transformed into Manchester Pacific Gateway, a mixed-use project by San Francisco–based firm Gensler offering luxury shopping, restaurants, office space, five-star resorts, and open public spaces, all overlooking some of the most beautiful waterfront in California.
Adding to the downtown area’s reinvigoration will be the revamp of the former Seaport Village into the Seaport San Diego. The vast $1.2 billion mixed-use complex will include hotels, shops, restaurants, green space, and tourist attractions, among them a 480-foot observation tower—dubbed the Spire—that developers hope will serve as a tourism draw akin to the London Eye. The port will also feature a 178,000-square-foot aquarium by innovative international design firm Bjarke Ingels Group as well as artistic lighting throughout by London artist Peter Fink, who has also been tapped to transform the landmark 2.5-mile-long Coronado Bridge into a LED light sculpture powered by sustainable energy sources.