Del Mar’s new Civic Center resolves this seaside village’s longstanding need for a centralized venue where people can come together to celebrate community and exercise civic engagement. Prior to this development, Del Mar’s public activities were scattered throughout the city, often occurring in private-sector spaces. The new Civic Center consolidates primary public functions in one location, and places them at the heart of the Village.
“City Halls have evolved into being much more than places representing civic gravitas. They are a public investment in the infrastructure for the social aspects of community, where civic identity is formed through the ritual of public gatherings that are made possible by these spaces,” notes Mike Jobes, design principal for the project.
Located on a 1.5 acre property adjacent to Camino Del Mar, the town’s main thoroughfare, the Civic Center functions as a series of interconnected structures, courtyards and terraces, and open space that follows the contours of the site, while preserving spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The complex includes a 3,000-square-foot Town Hall, a 9,000-square-foot City Hall, a 13,000-square-foot Town Commons, as well as parking for 140 vehicles, most of which is discretely tucked below the complex. Fully 40% of the site is preserved as open space with planted gardens, active and passive courtyards, and space for the community farmer’s market.
The Civic Center’s design is derived from its local context: residential in scale, and built using warm, natural materials such as wood and integrally-colored concrete. Spaces flow from one to another, as well as from inside to outside, like a set of family beachside cottages. The landscape is a showcase for native and drought tolerant plants, including Torrey pines that for generations have defined the area. Careful placement of the new pines—noted for their significant loss of needles and cones—will minimize maintenance and ensure their long-term care and survival.
Town Hall, the community meeting space, is symbolically pulled to the edge of site to reinforce the public nature of the complex. Low slung in stature, the interior is open and features exposed wood beams which take their inspiration from the needles and branches of the region’s Torrey pine.
A cupola tops the space, and paired with operable clerestory windows, provides natural ventilation.
City Hall is composed of two primary spaces—city council chambers and administrative offices—that are connected by an enclosed breezeway. To accommodate large group council meetings, the breezeway is fitted with speakers and can become part of the council chambers by opening the accordion-like glass wall that separates the two spaces. Seating and even the custom-built dais in the council chambers are mobile to make way for special events. Much of the exterior is clad in ipe wood siding, a Brazilian hardwood noted for its density and durability.
Decades in the making, the Del Mar Civic Center is ultimately an expression of place and civic commitment. With its emphasis on indoor and outdoor public gathering spaces, the modest, yet considered, complex strives to be a good neighbor in this landscape of human-scaled spaces and well-loved gardens.
Flat slab podium structure with Glulam Timber framing and wood stick framing above the podium
Manufacturer/Brand/Material: Ipe rain screen, Stucco (no manufacturer specified for either)
Manufacturer/Brand/Material: Taylor Medal Products/Standing Steam Metal Roof
Manufacturer/Brand/Material: Arcadia Storefront System
Glass: Insulated glazing with Solarban 70XL and warm edge air spacer
Skylights: Insulated translucent glazing unites with warm edge air spacer
Clerestory: Insulated glazing units with Solarban 70XL and warm edge air spacer
Exterior: Same as storefront
Interior: Ash trim and ash door leaves
Paint/stain for solid surfacing: Caesarstone Cosmopolitan White
Paint/stain for resilient flooring: Barely used
Paint/stain for special interior finishes unique to this project: Perforated metal panels and ash casework
DESIGN TEAM AND ROLES
Architect of Record: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Design Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Partner-in-Charge: Ron Rochon
Managing Principal: Caroline Kreiser
Design Lead: Mike Jobes
Design Critic: Ben Dalton
Project Architects: Jeffrey Troutman, Kurt Stolle, Judith Rodriguez Lambotte, Kelley Ross, Jessie McClurg, April Ng, Steve Doub, Kevin Carpenter, John McKay
CONSULTANT TEAM AND ROLES
Renderer: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
CAD system, project management or other software used: Revit
Civil Engineer: BWE, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Hope-Amundson Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: Randall Lamb Associates
Electrical Engineer: Randall Lamb Associates
Geotechnical Engineer: SCST Engineering
Landscape: Spurlock Landscape Architects
Lighting: Randall Lamb Associates
Interior Designer: bkm OfficeWorks
Acoustical Engineer: None
Theatrical/AV: Western Audio Visual
Other(s): RECON Environmental, Inc., Estrada Land Planning
The Del Mar Civic Center won the 2019 Wood Design Award: Wood in Government Buildings. Read “2019 Wood Design Awards winners display aesthetics, ingenuity and sustainability in wood building design” for more information about the awards.