With an eye toward creating a walkable, functional and aesthetically-pleasing public space, the award-winning SPURLOCK POIRIER Landscape Architects a San Diego firm known for its collaborative, forward-thinking approach to urban landscape has been tapped to handle a $1.5 million redevelopment of the UC San Diego Theatre District, which houses the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse and the top-ranked UC San Diego Theatre and Dance Department.
The project, which is currently underway, is slated for completion in August of this year and includes significant upgrades and enhancements to approximately 1.8 acres on the UC San Diego campus. It is adjacent to the Mandell Weiss Forum, Mandell Weiss Theatre, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, and Molli and Arthur Wagner Dance Facility.
According to Yu-Ju Liu, LEED AP and associate principal of SPURLOCK POIRIER, the goal is to create a cohesive, pedestrian-friendly district that highlights each theatre’s unique identity. She said,“Our ultimate focus is to improve the visitor experience and accessibility to the theatres, while enhancing the theatres’ strong sense of place in the Eucalyptus grove.”
Unifying and improving the district’s walkability, the new design will provide clearer orientation to the four key theatres with a central walkway and branching tributaries. Major improvements will include the artful reconfiguration of theatre plazas, installation of elegantly constructed new walkways, sturdy aluminum and stainless steel signage, state-of-the-art lighting and permanent seating areas.
Providing a compelling new landmark, four programmable LED video screens will be installed along the central pedestrian walkway to announce current and upcoming events.
Additionally, an extensive restoration of the District’s iconic eucalyptus grove a fundamental part of the university’s history and ecology will reinforce the area’s unique character, connecting it to the greater UC San Diego campus. Visitors will emerge from the leafy, pungent grove into a distinctive plaza at each theatre.
With a drought-tolerant focus, interesting textures and colors of succulents, shrubs and groundcovers will underscore the individuality of each theatre’s architecture and gathering spaces. Plantings at Mandell Weiss Theatre extend existing gardens in lush greens, chartreuse and red from the existing coral trees. The Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre transitions to orange, maroon and chartreuse succulents and shrubs while Mandell Weiss Forum plantings blend back into the Eucalyptus grove with more subdued tones, in muted gray, green-gray and mauve.
About Spurlock Poirier
Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects (sp-land.com) provides an innovative, site-conditioned approach to planning and landscape architectural design.
The firm was established by Andrew Spurlock in 1988, and joined by Martin Poirier, who became a partner in 1990. Now known for its collaborative, ideas-driven approach to problem solving, Spurlock Poirier has developed particular skill in the design of places for rich, human experiences in both urban and natural environments. The firm has expertise in planning, parks, urban residential, mixed-use and institutional projects, as well as art in public places.
Both partners have been named Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects.