Santa Monica Pier / 2017. Santa Monica, CA
In Collaboration With Amanda Brunner
In Collaboration With Amanda Brunner
This project is a redesign of the Santa Monica Pier in California. The idea of the project is to create active and passive zones for different types of program. The active zone is the half of the pier that is towards the city, and is designed to accommodate a wide range of activities. The passive side of the pier is more removed from the city. It steps down in elevation from the rest of the pier, and is separated from the active portion by a buffer of vegetation. Its design limits the kinds of activities that can occur, ensuring a relaxing atmosphere. These two regions of the pier are surrounded by the main circulation path. In some areas, this path dips down to the beach. In other locations, the path raises up for roof access. The main circulation path creates seamless movement throughout the site without disrupting activities of active and passive zones.
Public furniture modules determine programs in the active, passive, and circulation zones. In the active zone, there are skate park modules and colorful blocks. These are not attached to the ground and can be rearranged on the pier. The colorful blocks can stack, interlock, and conglomerate for a variety of uses. Possible activities include mixed use, a fashion show, a concert, and a group effort or competition to build a large structure from the blocks.
On the passive side of the pier, not all modules are movable. The stationary modules include a table with a bench that flows into the ground, creating a cutout in the pier for a hammock. Movable colorful block modules exist in the passive part of the pier, but they cannot be aggregated in the same way because the tables and hammocks act as obstacles. The colorful blocks lend their geometry to non movable planters with benches on this side of the pier, separating it from the active side of the pier.
The main circulation path contains modules that are a mix between passive and active. These modules include things that people in both parts of the pier need access to. Bike racks allow for a reduction of the amount of space dedicated to automotive parking, as does the decreased amount of the pier that bicyclists must travel beneath the waterfront bike path. Small outdoor movie theaters with phone storage and charging stations, water fountains, and benches with tables also populate this path.
The passive and active portions of the pier are framed by buildings and pavilions. The buildings exist on the sides of the pier, serving both the interior and the main circulation path. Pavilions are on the entrance and rear of the pier in order to keep a continuous exterior connection through the center of the pier from front to back.
In the active region, the buildings fit into the active program. Programs include an arcade, skate and bicycle rental, and aquarium. The amusement park contains touch pools, fish tanks, and an immersive tunnel underneath the central tank. There is also an amusement park, which includes a roller coaster, ferris wheel, and indoor carousel. The aquarium is connected to the other building by a pavilion.
The passive region features restaurants, cafes, and small food vendors in its buildings. The two buildings contain similar programs, and are attached by a pavilion. Outdoors, the program of this side of the pier also contains a garden.
The roofscape of the buildings and pavilions offers an elevated landscape as an alternate way to experience the site. The formal language of the roof follows the logic of the colorful block modules. This is constructed with a grid of tessellating triangles, in which certain points are pulled up and down in order to offer elevational variety and points of interest. The buildings provide shade when the roofscape extends beyond the building massing, creating alcoves facing the exterior of the pier. Towards the center of the pier, parts of the roofscape copy their logic to the ground, with the roof continuing above for shade. The pavilions provide the majority of the shade on the pier. Their formal logic blends with the buildings, when the roof thickens and drops down to meet the ground at the edges of the buildings.
On the active side of the pier, the roof is accessed when it touches the ground in two locations. The roof on this side of the project is highly interactive. The first part includes glass panels that look down into the aquarium’s fish tanks. The second part includes an abundance of vegetation, with cutouts in the pavilion that look down upon the pier. The third portion includes colorful panels that light up both on the roof and on the arcade’s ceiling when stepped on.
The passive region’s roofscape is more relaxed. It contains large areas of grass to lay and sit upon, benches that wrap around planters, and cutouts in the pavilion roof for hammocks. Exhaust from the pier’s nicer restaurants is pointed up to the roof, to allow visitors to relax in the company of the smells of delicious food.
The wide range of unique experiences in this project allows the Santa Monica Pier to attract a larger and more diverse crowd of people than is currently possible with the existing pier.