Synchronizing Culture and History
Horton Plaza is poised to create a new, environmentally responsive hub for creative office while actively engaging in the dynamic history and ideas of the site’s past. The project continues to engage heavily with the city fabric, extending Jerde’s intent of an urban space that grows and changes with the culture of San Diego.
Originally designed by The Jerde Partnership in 1985 as one of the world’s first outdoor shopping malls, Horton Plaza stands on six and a half city blocks in Downtown San Diego. In its new life, existing mall space will become a diverse complex with 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 700,000 sq. ft. of creative office, as well as dining areas and landscape.
When first completed, Horton Plaza regenerated Downtown San Diego with a post-modern sensibility. The historic references, intersecting stairs, bold color choices and geometric forms drew new energy to the heart of the City. Today, the iconic landmark is a promising model for transforming underutilized buildings into new uses.
Horton Plaza will once again become a center for discovery, this time for the creative professional, with the goal of revitalizing the City.
The outdoor circulation corridor that once connected pedestrians with stores is reimagined as a Canyon brought to life with new, lush landscape. This spine connects the major public areas to a redesigned park at the northeast end. Views are created within the Canyon by selective removal of certain elements while celebrating other key moments. Thus, the new outdoor space plays well with history while clarifying relationships and providing safe, usable, and modern convenience.
The environmental approach to the project and systems is ambitious and varied. A goal of Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Carbon status for the office spaces is achieved through thoughtful MEP systems selection and central plant strategies combined with architectural shading, high-performance glazing, and other passive systems that limit heat gain and glare. The development will integrate solar energy, a fully electric central plant, and blackwater and greywater reuse systems.
The renovation will transform the existing plaza into a green open space that will serve residents of San Diego on a daily and event scale.
The landscape design re-thinks the existing hardscape by introducing permeable soft-scaping and sustainable features to elevate the campus and position it as an urban refuge for downtown populations. The campus design converts the existing 100% paved pedestrian areas to a more humane 50% softscape and adds tree coverage to promote shading and thermal comfort.
The design diminishes the heat island effect, promotes stormwater filtration, and generates urban habitat in Downtown San Diego’s core. The park design transforms an underperforming existing public space with no shading and 100% paving to a 75% softscape with over 50% shade coverage through addition of trees. Similar to the spirit of the campus design, the park strategies reuse and repurpose the existing elements to create a 1-acre urban green space for residents and local workers to enjoy.
The design capitalizes on the existing amphitheater infrastructure and flexibility of the space to enhance activation with enhanced food and beverage components and variable scale seating areas to encourage use throughout the day and evenings. A central turf area replaces the existing hardscape to create a green heart to the project and large specimen trees help anchor the space with shade to modulate summer heat and promote a sense of intimacy for human scale. The existing amphitheater steps will be enhanced with the additional of wood seating to promote more usable seating and use for smaller scale events. The design also embed smaller scale performance moments with the capacity to capture the entire space for a variety of programmable events.
Client: Stockdale Capital Partners
Executive Architect: RDC Design
Structural Consultant: Miyamoto International
MEP Consultant: Integral Group
Civil Engineering: Rick Engineering
Lighting: KGM Architectural Lighting
Environmental Design: Atelier 10