Pacific Overlook

San Pedro, CA

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Image Credit: Steve Proehl

Environmental Minimalism Guides Visitor Experience

The new space creates a car-free open space from which to view the Pacific Ocean. The design balances openness and intricacy with details directing a visitor’s attention with materiality, texture, and shadow. The delicate geotechnical conditions of the bluff required the project to prevent infiltration of water and not add significant weight. This meant no opportunity for tree planting, irrigation, or footings for structures of significant height or load. In response, low-water sedum species with shallow soil systems fill the steel planters, laid out in a graphic pattern. Taller succulents screen the street and serve as a threshold to the overlook. Seat walls and viewing platforms provide a sense of discovery and afford different visitor experiences and uses of the overlook.

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Pacific Overlook provides an empty landscape – available to anyone to use¬ – but with sufficient detail and sculptural form to assert a quiet presence. Balancing openness and intricacy, the materials and design vocabulary reflect the industrial history of San Pedro. Design details direct a visitors’ attention with materiality, texture, and shadow: the way the seat feels, the high contrast of one surface in full sun and the other in shade. The pattern of the brilliantly colored sedum species is composed of modules, laid out as a graphic. Image Credit: Craig Maldonado
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CMG was introduced to the site in 2004 when work began 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 lot with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean was designated as a priority site for revitalization.