The site-specific work, titled Beach Castles, was created by Roman de Salvo for the South Mission Beach Lifeguard Tower. Completed in 2019, the artwork is located at the lifeguard tower near the Mission Bay channel. Inspired by the iconic houses that stretch along the Mission Beach boardwalk, the artwork consists of ten small, concrete houses that form a semi-circular retaining wall on the east end of the building exterior.
These monochrome, concrete houses are subtle in contrast to the unique, personalized dwellings along the boardwalk, and merge almost seamlessly with the sand of the beach. At times, they seem to be in the process of emerging from the sand or slowing being enveloped by it as the result of the coastal winds; sometimes the central houses stand tall, while houses on the end are partially engulfed and vice versa. Beach Castles evokes themes of resilience and safety, which refer to ideas embodied in the artwork itself, but also to the site and the role of the lifeguards within. There is a playful aspect to the artwork as the houses face the Pacific Ocean, making them an unexpected discovery for beach-goers and possible inspiration for children creating their own beach castles.