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October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
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Landscape Architecture

San Diego International Airport’s Rental Car Center Landscaping Architecture

The overall landscape theme of the Rental Car Center is reflective of the identity of San Diego, its unique location and significant natural and man-made features. The landscape also reflects the idea of movement, movement which is indicative of travel as well as the surrounding natural systems of wind and water.

Sustainability was a key landscape goal of the project. The Rental Car Center was designed and built with sustainable strategies to achieve LEED certification. Water efficiency is achieved through the use of infiltration at planting areas, bio-swales and other grading techniques to capture and clean on-site water resources. Trees are used to provide shade in the parking lots and throughout hardscape areas to reduce the heat island affect. Plant material selection was based on climate, minimal maintenance and low water use.

The site is unique in that the landscape is read from ground level as well as from the air. A variety of palm trees provide identity to the site and visual interest on the vertical plane. The ground plane design represents the idea of movement through the use of plant material (form, texture and color) various color boulders, cobble and decorative rock and enhanced pedestrian paving. Plant material chosen for the site is climate and site appropriate, drought tolerant and low maintenance. Color and texture of the plant material helps continue the theme of movement and representational impressions of the San Diego region. Date palms lining the interior roads and feature trees throughout the site are up-lit to enhance the project at night.

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    3355 Admiral Boland Way, San Diego, CA 92101

    Project Owner/Developer:

    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Bob Bolton - Director of Design and Construction/San Diego County Regional Airport Authority - bbolton@san.org

    Project Architect/Designer:

    KTU+A Planning and Landscape Architecture


  • landark

    This is not an orchid. The landscape does nothing to complement or connect to the building, the elevations or the site context. The plant selections are weak besides the row of Date Palms and the use of lawn on the east side that they have killed was a mistake from the start. The stone clad entry walls do not relate to the white concrete of the building and the signage looks like it’s from the 1970’s. Really hate the use of the gold colored aggregate here and around the airport – this is San Diego, not Phoenix! Ugh!

    Big vote for an Onion on this project.

Contact Us

Contact Us



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

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Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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