Honor Award -- Design
Santa Monica BIG (Beach Improvement Group) South Beach
Santa Monica, California
Wallace Roberts & Todd, Inc. with Jody Pinto, Artist
Principal, Wallace Roberts & Todd, Inc.
1133 Columbia Street
San Diego, CA 92101-3535
Project Purpose: For South Beach, our task was to enhance and
celebrate each of its unique characteristics while also forging a cohesive
context for the entire six-block area. Located adjacent to the Santa Monica
Pier and home to the world-renowned Muscle Beach and Chess Park, South
Beach is a hub of human activity, a pedestrian promenade that connects
a variety of hotels, concessions and entertainment venues. The $2 6 million
of improvements include landscape; pedestrian and bicycle paths; site
furnishings and new activity areas such as a children's playground, Muscle
Beach, and Chess Park. The improvements to this "human theater" are designed
to convey the idea of ebb and flow -- visually and functionally so that
the natural beauty, historic character and sheer spectacle of South Beach
sparkles with renewed vitality.
Role of lands ape Architect: The landscape architect lead a team
of architects, engineers, and an artist in collaboration with the community-city
staff and residents through an active process of ideas, programming, design
review and celebrations.
Significance: The Santa Monica beach boardwalk lies low in the
landscape where the edge is a mere line on the sand, and vies from the
edge are of near things -of people, mostly: playing, flexing, promenading,
gliding on rollers and wheels or spiking a ball high in the air. From
the boardwalk the horizon is implied, the ocean hidden, the sunset interrupted.
Yet the boardwalk also ebbs and flows, from sunrise to sunset, with the
rhythms of people and their games. It is everyday drama, loud, kinetic,
and full of show and delight, opening and closing with the curtain of
daily light. The design of the anta Monica boardwalk need not create drama,
merely tap it. And, since the boardwalk lacks a suitable balcony: the
stage must be created -a collection of open, flexible venues for impromptu
Furthermore, he recreational elements should not "mark" a site as much as afford the opportunity to "make" a site: choose a section of wall to sit on, to stand on, to jump off of; a section of paving to gather chairs in, to parade through; or a palm among a cluster to sit under, to lean against.