Photos below provided by:
Ian Patzke Photography
Mike Torrey Photography
Darren Bradley Photography
Jury Statement for Orchid Award:
As one juror summed up, the National City Aquatic Center is simply “a game changer for National City’s access to San Diego Bay.” Beautifully detailed and layered with subtle nautical gestures, the facility is an important regional asset providing a community event space, recreational & educational services as well as a dock allowing access into the Bay. Like the bridge of a ship, the event space box also serves as a lookout, its clear glass walls enabling observation of activities taking place on the water and the center’s surroundings. “It’s light, playful and in balance”.
Positioned on the southern edge of the 5½-acre Pepper Park at the mouth of the Sweetwater River Channel, this 5500 SF, single-story, two structure aquatic center was designed to facilitate recreational and educational services for the community, replacing a makeshift facility housed in trailers for over a decade. The center serves as a beacon that marks the channel entry while capitalizing on its unobstructed views towards protected wetlands, San Diego Bay and beyond. A large community gathering and activity space is located in the easternmost structure under a faceted, flying roof perched atop a base of clear glass walls, appearing to glide kite-like into the sky and creating a fluid dynamic for its larger counterpart to the west. Across an open-air walkway, offices are contained in a box comprised of 4’ intermittently operable windows. Like the bridge of a ship, the box also serves as a lookout, its clear glass walls enabling observation of activities taking place on the water and the center’s surroundings. To the west, an angular concrete block structure floats behind like a barge, and contains boat and equipment storage, restrooms and locker rooms. Separate yet unified, the buildings are secured and coalesced with custom galvanized steel gates accented and brushed acrylic panels.