Manhattan Beach, California
The former Metlox Potteries site was an environmentally remediated empty lot three blocks from the Manhattan Beach Pier, a void separating the Civic Center from the City’s main shopping street. The City of Manhattan Beach purchased the property and sponsored an urban design competition between teams of private developers, architects and planners with the goal of developing a project to best serve the community and create a public gathering space within the city.
Through a highly public process, we developed a mixed use project containing shops, restaurants, services and a boutique hotel, organized around a square connecting the main street to the City Hall. Also included is a new below grade parking structure which serves the development as well as provides much needed parking for the whole downtown. The project is an example of a Public-Private Partnership trend where the city owns the land and the developer ground leases and funds the construction of the buildings. The City owns all the public amenities including square, gardens and parking garage. The amenities and public spaces foster the gathering of people. Designed in collaboration with the Los Angeles artist Susan Narduli, the amenities link the site’s industrial, ceramic making past to a modern city shaped by the sun and the ocean. A giant replica of a dog figurine from the Metlox pottery catalog greets you at the entrance to the open space off of Manhattan Beach Boulevard and functions as a kind of mascot for the project.
The project acknowledges the existing Manhattan Beach grid made up of alternating walk and auto streets. The plan maintains and enhances the existing view corridors, opening a new pedestrian extension through to 12th Street and fully extending 13th Street. The existing structure of the City is carried through in the scale and rhythm of storefront architecture on Manhattan Beach Boulevard
The square is the centerpiece of the design, an outdoor “living room” for Manhattan Beach residents. The buildings are designed to serve a supporting role rather than becoming iconic objects, giving primacy to the design of the public space and its amenities. The project is not organized around a single privileged moment or feature, rather, there are many ways of seeing and experiencing the place. All of these moments are tied together by a common language of elements and a common architectural vocabulary.
96,700 SF site area
46,500 SF commercial/retail building area
26,000 SF 38-room boutique hotel
45,000 SF public square and walk-streets
188,344 SF subterranean parking structure (460 cars)
CLIENT: City of Manhattan Beach & Tolkin Group
PROJECT LEADERS: Peter Tolkin, Maria Iwanicki, Christopher Girt
PROJECT TEAM: Eric Townsend, Conrado Lopez,Jeremy Schacht, Yvonne Lau,Brian Proffitt, Jeanette Fabry
DEVELOPER: Tolkin Group
ENGINEERS: Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers (Structural), Southland Industries (Mechanical & Plumbing), SASCO (Electrical), KPFF Consulting Engineers (Civil)
LANDSCAPE: Wade Graham Landscape Studio
CONSULTANTS: Sanchez/Kamps Associates (Signage), Susan Narduli (Art), Fox + Fox Design (Lighting), Fluidity Design Consultants, Inc (Art & Fountains), D7 Consulting, Inc. (Waterproofing)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Charles Pankow Builders
PHOTOGRAPHER: Peter Tolkin, Grant Mudford
AWARDS: 2008 AIA Merit Award