Located on the edge of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, the landscape design intention for the Visitor’s Center was to expand the ecology and plant communities of the Reserve, and bring the estuary up to, and around, the architecture. All plant species including Saltbush, Lemonade Berry, California Buckwheat, and Coyote Bush, are indigenous to the specific ecosystem, while impermeable surfaces are minimized; the parking lot is gravel (a first for a public project in San Diego), and paths are like piers suggesting entry into the estuary.
These 1990 plantings successfully extended the estuary ecosystem; when we returned in 2007 to design an addition to the Center, the designed landscape had transformed into valuable and protected habitat that couldn’t be encrouched upon.
Imperial Beach, CA
Rob Wellington Quigley Architects (1990)
Safdie Rabines Architects (2007)
California State Parks