Landscape + Parks
Photos: Mark Johnson / Civitas
NORTH EMBARCADERO VISION PROJECT (NEVP)
San Diego, CA
Port of San Diego
Project Design Consultants, Civitas, Spurlock Poirier
For the San Diego Esplanade, Leni Schwendinger Light Projects’ team designed illumination for the waterfront, gardens, and the Broadway approach. A multi-year project, the Embarcadero’s asphalt surfaces, sad kiosks, and lack of trees set against the magnificent San Diego Bay waters provided bones for revitalization.
The project envisioned a gateway to San Diego’s downtown creating a regenerated destination. The consultant team worked with multiple clients, including the business improvement district, Civic San Diego, Port of San Diego, and the City of San Diego. A welcoming urban park interwoven with a working waterfront was the result of the redeveloped masterplan.
Following a highly collaborative, public engagement process, Phase 1 of NEVP reclaimed a 1,000-foot long vehicular-oriented throughway and returns the Bay’s water’s edge to thousands of visitors enjoying the many cultural activities found along the water’s edge. The Light Projects’ team collaborated closely with two landscape architects, urban designer, engineers, and public artist. Amid the lush landscape of trees, paths, and plazas, visitors encounter architecturally bold ticket kiosks, artist-designed shade pavilions, and a café. The lighting, graphics, and furnishings recall the craft and heft of the maritime industries.
A series of formal garden rooms are defined by the redesigned landscape with seating areas and a complement of custom light poles. An 8-foot-wide water quality band provides visible conveyance and treatment of stormwater to the harbor’s edge. Parallel to the walkway a runnel creates an incised, illuminated line at night.
A grand hallway along West Broadway is created by Medjool Date Palm trees planted along the median and sidewalks. The tall, linear palms alternate with Schwendinger’s spiral light-poles, which are 30-feet high and perform both street lighting and up-light the palm tree canopies.
At the end of Broadway, the Port Pavilion features Schwendinger’s Tidal Radiance a dynamic, exterior glass, metals, and public-art light wall.
All elements of the project, including plant materials, ground surfaces, and furnishing designs, were based on the appropriate scale and durability for the coastal environment.