Sad news in San Diego. Local architect Graham Downes, 55, was killed after being assaulted by one of his employees outside of his home last Friday morning, reports NBC San Diego. Downes, founder of Graham Downes Architecture, had practiced in the city for over 20 years. Local police found him unconscious in front of his house, in the Bankers Hill neighborhood, on Friday morning. Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, was arrested and booked on attempted murder charges.
“It’s devastating. It’s difficult to imagine what tomorrow will be like, but we have to take care of tomorrow,” Alex Veen, CFO of Blokhaus, a collection of companies to which Graham Downe Architects belongs, told NBC San Diego. Downes specialized in luxury hospitality, office, and retail design. He was working on, among other projects, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, the Palomar Hotel, Hotel La Jolla, Nico’s Bar, and shops for Charlotte Russe, Quiksilver, and Patagonia.
From the top of San Diego’s soaring 200-foot-tall Coronado Bay Bridge, architect Lew Dominy says you can see Mexico, but outside of special events when the bridge is closed to automobile traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists who might stop to admire the view are prohibited. Dominy, principal at San Diego-based domusstudio architecture, has a plan to build a tube through the distinctive archways of the Coronado’s support piers that would bring multi-modal access to the bridge.
While it was never topped with a highway like its San Francisco cousin, San Diego’s Embarcadero has long been a car-dominated no-man’s land of wasted opportunity along the city’s stunning bay. No more! Earlier this year the city broke ground on a redevelopment of the area, including new pavilions, plazas, a 105-foot-wide esplanade, and bike and walking paths. The area will be planted with hundreds of new trees and set with new street furniture and decorative lighting.
Phase one, encompassing 1.2 miles, should be done by next summer. The project, guided by the North Embarcadero Vision Plan, is being paid for by the Port of San Diego and the city of San Diego, acting through the Centre City Development Corporation.
Seattle architecture firm Miller Hull, a past winner of the AIA national Firm Award, may be best-known for their work in the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve also been active in San Diego for the last seven years. Now the firm is finally opening an office in the city, giving them a physical presence and simplifying things for their architects and for clients.
We recently ran into Gwynne Pugh, former principal at Pugh + Scarpa (now Brooks + Scarpa), who earlier this fall left his longtime job (22 years to be exact) to start his own firm, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. It seems that he’s already quite busy working as an urban design consultant. Pugh, who sees himself as an intermediary between cities and developers, is consulting with agencies in the cities of San Diego, Carson, and Long Beach. He’s also teaming up with Bridge Housing on an affordable housing project in Santa Monica and working with Coca Cola to review its sustainability scheme for its bottling plant in Downey. Pugh is also president of the planners’ division of the League of California Cities. “It’s been a great opportunity for me to focus on some of these issues I care about,” said Pugh, who right now is working with three employees, and plans to move to a new office in Playa Vista in the beginning of next year.
It seems that Times Square’s pedestrian-friendly experiment is catching on.. According to The San Diego Union Tribune, The Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s Balboa Park is proposing to go car-free with a $33 million plan by Mayor Jerry Sanders and Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs. The proposal would remove 67 auto spaces in the park, and a 900-space parking structure will be built at the south of the park for the displaced cars. If achieved, the new space opens up possibilities not only for strollers but for public artwork and new landscaping. The plan has its detractors, mostly because there is the possibility that the parking structure could impose a fee (parking in the park is currently free). A committee has been created to help raise the funds and the media has stated that there are donors already, who have history of funding park improvements. The new pedestrian friendly space is reflective of the 1915 San Diego Exposition, where the center was completely open to walkers. Officials are hoping to restore it for the centennial anniversary in 2015.
Yesterday, we posted the feature from our current California issue, “On Their Mark,” about a new show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego highlighting seven local firms. While sending over the pictures of the exhibition, Mix: Nine San Diego Architects and Designers, that went into our slideshow, the fine folks at MCASD also sent along these nice photos from the opening party, which were taken by Lauren Radack. In case, like us, you couldn’t make it. (And if you know anyone in these photos we may not have mentioned, do tell). Read More