17th Street Beach Safety Center
- Project Address: 1700 Coast Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
- Project Owner/ Developer: City of Del Mar
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Gretchen Crowson / email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Jeff Katz Architecture / Bret Wilkes
When the City of Del Mar did not have the capital funds to replace its dilapidated and deteriorating Lifeguard Headquarters, Del Mar looked to a unique partner to finance the construction of a new Beach Safety Center- the community. The City entered into a financing agreement with a group of residents who formed a non-profit organization, the Friends of the Powerhouse, to replace the inadequate existing structure and ensure effective lifeguard protection and improved access to the beach for residents and the millions of visitors to the beaches of Del Mar.
The new state-of-the-art beach safety facility has a dedicated first-aid room, equipped with multiple first aid stations for the treatment of minor injuries, a triage area to treat emergencies, and multiple sinks for treating sting rays. Additionally the first-floor of the building includes a locker room, ADA complaints showers, a large garage to accommodate the lifeguard truck, boat, and ATV, and six ADA accessible public restrooms. The second-floor of the building contains an administrative space for multiple personnel to monitor activities and provide required reports; as well as an observation deck with a slide pole for quick beach access. Finally, the dispatch space, considered the heart of the lifeguard facility, contains state-of-the-art equipment such as infrared radars that detect heat to help identify people and boats at night, several high-end viewing telescopes, and advanced radio communications.
In addition to the lifeguard building, the project also included covering an existing storm drain channel located adjacent to the building with a new culvert, and a boardwalk above it, to improve drainage and create an enhanced access walkway to the beach. The new beach safety center will ensure effective lifeguard protection and improved access to the beach for residents and the millions of visitors to the beaches of Del Mar.
The aesthetic quality of this building was very important to the community of Del Mar. During concept design and throughout design development, the design team held several meetings with community leaders to get their input on the aesthetics of the building. It was agreed upon that the small, but prominent building, would need to fit in with the neighboring beach community, but it was important to create a building that made an impact and would make the community proud. The use of common materials such as CMU and steel members were accented by more appealing materials and details. For example, exposed glu-lam beams and an out-of-the-ordinary curved roof added more interest to the building. Additionally, the board-formed concrete walkway covering the new culvert was designed to look like a boardwalk, creating a much more impacting and attractive beach access for locals and visitors. Around the building, planters and seat walls incorporating local artists’ work add local and personal design elements to the site. Meanwhile decorative tiles, benches, and trellises flanking the boardwalk, that were donated by community members, further heighten the sense of pride the community feels at having this new facility.