Press: Pacific Gate Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

by Sara Johnson | Mar 10, 2016 | Architect Online Magazine

Pacific Gate is designed to be a landmark at the gateway to the downtown core, to enhance pedestrian life, and to be a great addition not only to the neighborhood but also to the city of San Diego. The unique curved glass tower soars up from ground towards the sky to form a distinctive skyline with an angled roof line. The proposed development consists of a 41-story concrete residential tower with 215 units above three levels of underground parking. A 3-story podium lines the south side of the tower, containing large commercial spaces on the ground level, and residential units and amenity spaces on the floors above. An overlapping curved wall theme is consistently applied to the podium as a response to the architectural language of the tower. The public plaza along Broadway consist of a series of landscape features, such as a water jet fountain, reflecting pools, an outdoor seating area with movable furniture, and raised planters with a variety of local plant species. The West E Street dead-end is improved with a public garden space and a covered walkway along Martin Luther King Promenade. The walkway generously opens up to a view to the landscaped residential entrance court. The double height commercial/retail space occupies the ground floor along Broadway and Pacific Highway. A strong street wall along Pacific Highway is provided by the tower and the podium. The podium has varying street wall heights of 35’ to 55’. Public open spaces along Pacific Highway are created by the change of podium wall curvature in varying depth, and activate the commercial/retail spaces. A generous residential entrance court smoothly flows in from West E Street along the gracefully curving podium wall. All vehicles will enter the project from West E Street. Entrances for the underground parking and ground level loading area are located mid-block on West E Street, while a ceremonial residential drop-off is more privately located at the end of the street. There are three Levels of underground parking.

An unprecedented sleek residential tower design is achieved by the thoughtful unit and balcony layout without a sacrifice of desirable balcony space for each unit. The oval shaped tower is oriented east-west to minimize its exposure to western sunlight, while maximizing the downtown view corridor towards the waterfront. Vertical painted metal fins accentuate the tower’s verticality and help to enhance the energy performance by blocking solar heat gain from western/eastern sunlight. High performance insulating glass units with low-e coating are applied throughout the building and warm beige limestone is selected for the podium to complement the color pallet of the historic downtown.Landscape plays an important role on the ground plane, on various roofs of the podium, and at the top of the tower. A large resort style pool deck on level 4 is protected from wind and noise by spiraling glass and limestone walls which allow the podium to express a harmonious architectural language with the angled tower top. Large numbers of planters and green vertical planted walls provide well shaded human scale common spaces. The common space can be accessed easily from indoor amenity spaces on the same level and from the fitness center on the level below. The public plaza along Broadway not only provides public shelters with two rows of tall palm trees, a variety of plantings, and seating, but also becomes an inviting place of interest with active water features, exciting site furniture, lighting, and large scale public art.

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