Jewel Of The Bay

The San Diego County administrative center, dedicated by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, has finally lived up to the vision of several master plans. The San Diego County administrative center, dedicated by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, has finally lived up to the vision of several master plans.

Thirteen low-scale architectural electric-utility bollards were installed at strategic locations in the park. They are equipped with multiple electrical convenience outlets, which provide auxiliary power outlets for events. Thirteen low-scale architectural electric-utility bollards were installed at strategic locations in the park. They are equipped with multiple electrical convenience outlets, which provide auxiliary power outlets for events.

The San Diego County Administration Center, dedicated by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, has finally lived up to the vision of the original 1908 blueprint and subsequent master plans.

Landscape architects were able to triple the size of the public grounds by replacing two long-standing surface parking lots with one underground parking structure, compatible with the new design of the larger site. With open space greatly expanded, plazas, promenades, civic greens, themed gardens, and children’s play areas were incorporated into a new master plan. An interactive, colorfully illuminated day/night fountain is a focal point of the park. New architecturally designed indirect lighting was added to unobtrusively enhance walkways and pedestrian gathering areas throughout the grounds.

Seventy pole-mounted luminaires enhance evening experiences for visitors with softly diffused illumination, without becoming focal points themselves. Long-life ceramic metal-halide lamps deliver glare-free indirect lighting with a pleasant, warm color temperature and CRI. These luminaires line granite walkways along the fountains, as well as along meandering trails throughout the park. They link the children’s play areas, themed formal gardens, and picnic areas.

Architecturally designed indirect lighting was added to unobtrusively enhance walkways and pedestrian gathering areas. Architecturally designed indirect lighting was added to unobtrusively enhance walkways and pedestrian gathering areas.

Designed with the community in mind, layout of this $50-million, 12-acre park was configured to accommodate activities and events such as farmer’s markets, outdoor weddings, and public festivals. To that end, thirteen low-scale architectural electric utility bollards were installed at strategic locations in the park. They are equipped with multiple electrical convenience outlets, which provide auxiliary power outlets for events.

An old adage reminds us that everything comes to he who waits. It couldn’t be more true than in the case of the San Diego County Administration Center.

With open space greatly expanded, plazas, promenades, civic greens, themed gardens, and children’s play areas were incorporated into a new master plan. With open space greatly expanded, plazas, promenades, civic greens, themed gardens, and children’s play areas were incorporated into a new master plan.

In 1908, the site for a county administrative center was literally under water, requiring substantial dredging and land filling. By the time those funds were acquired to finance that work, it was 1914, and the country was shifting budgets and work priorities to a war footing.

By 1920, the war over for two years, the city planner restated the same need for a civic center in growing San Diego County. A resolution was passed supporting the idea. That same former tidal site between the Pacific Coast Highway and Harbor Drive was re-proposed. It should become, the planner wrote, “. . . the cornerstone for public buildings along the San Diego waterfront.”

The county administrative center was also to serve as a western anchor point for a grand promenade. It would link San Diego Bay with the 1,200-acre urban-cultural Balboa Park, and San Diego Zoo, a mile and half east. A project-design team was put together. But when the Great Depression began in 1929, the county administrative center, already long delayed, was again postponed. Indefinitely.

In 1935, a new project-design team was put together with San Diego architect Samuel Hamill to lead it. The CAC building was designed, a unique combination of Spanish Renaissance and Modernist architecture. Two enclosed formal gardens were to be designed and located just east and just west of the building. But those gardens were never constructed, nor were two other proposed buildings and other formal gardens. Instead, surface parking lots were eventually constructed on the sites planned for those first formal gardens.

In 1938, however, a landscape architect was hired to complement the CAC building with a symmetrical path and walkway system and to incorporate planting beds suited to San Diego’s unique climate. A range of trees and low plantings between the wings of the County building had a paved terrace and one type of palm tree. Concurrently, another variety of palm and an open expanse of lawn, were created west of the CAC.

Fast-forward to 1998, when yet another master plan was proposed. Named the Visionary Plan, it favored creation of open park space, minus plans for combination development.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s