San Diego Convention Center Expansion

The urban design parti for the Expansion of the San Diego Convention desires to fulfill several important goals for this waterfront development in downtown, in particular: The fulfillment of the Park-to-Bay Link at the South Embarcadero, a recognizable urban park fitting San Diego’s place along the Pacific Rim, a genuine celebration of the waterfront, a year around entertainment venue at Marina Park, a pedestrian overpass, views to the Bay and downtown from inside the Expansion, a bona fide public thoroughfare unencumbered by semi-trucks, and convenient vehicular circulation for the general public to Marina Park and the Embarcadero.

The over-arching theme of the above mentioned goals is to create strong urban connections to the “fabric of the city”, strengthening the framework plan of downtown and promote a walk-able and vibrant environment in and around the Center. This can be seen, for example, by taking the semi-trucks into the building directly off Harbor Drive, thereby providing a well defined rectangular park between the expansion and the adjacent Hilton Hotel. This new park will serve as the “front yard” of the new expansion, while concurrently enhancing the public realm. Another example is the ability to “see through the new expansion” (transparency) from the meeting room level, and further to capture views from inside the ballroom and exhibit hall of downtown and/or San Diego Bay.

A critical component of the urban design strategy is to balance off the land-swap of the new hotel (2.3 acres) and the necessary re-distribution of land in order to comply with the previously approved California Coastal Commission mitigation plan of the Hilton Hotel, and phase two of the San Diego Convention Center. Our proposed open space plan “zeros out” the land-swap.

The conceptual design is intended to serves as an “economic engine” for downtown, and concurrently facilitates the meaningful interaction between hotels, transportation systems, entertainment venues, restaurants and retail establishments.