Pacific Overlook

San Pedro, CA

The site transforms the southernmost tip of Los Angeles from a parking lot to a public open space and ocean overlook.

CMG was introduced to the site in 2004 when we began work on a master plan for open spaces in the city of San Pedro. The sum of these master plan proposals, connected by street linkages, yielded a community-oriented and pedestrian-friendly network. As part of this process, a well-situated parking lot with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean was designated as a priority site for revitalization. 

CMG pursued the abstract idea of remnants, relating to the adjacent Sunken City, as a basis for the new design. Sunken City is the name given to the scattered ruins of a 1930’s subdivision that was lost in a landslide. Today, cracked pieces of concrete roads undulate over the edges of the bluff; street trees that have clung to life demarcate the ruined sidewalks. 

The delicate geotechnical conditions of the bluff required that Pacific Overlook's design prevent infiltraton of water and not add significant weight. This meant no opportunity for tree planting, irrigation, or footings for structures of great height or load. In response to the constraints, we chose low-water species with shallow soil systems, typical of green roof planting, to fill steel planters in a graphic pattern. The concrete cap creates the ground plane, while seat walls and viewing platforms reference the adjacent ruins in their various forms and arrangements. This same variety affords different visitor experiences and uses of the overlook. The resulting overlook explores minimalism as if environmental forces had acted upon the design itself.