Horton Plaza v3.0 is an open ideas design competition created to encourage critical design approaches and public debate around a vitally important urbanspace in the heart of Downtown San Diego.
We believe that engaging in creative efforts with our local communities, we can create a better, more informed population and improve our cultural and natural environments. Together, our combined efforts to collaboratively re-design our environment will only result in the successful transformation of the landscape into a supportive environment from which we can all benefit. Horton Plaza v3.0 is meant to be an outlet for the voices of designers, residents, business owners, and visitors alike that enjoy the beauty Downtown San Diego has to offer.
Horton Plaza is one landmark that is not short on history. Dating back to c.1870, the plaza has been home to diverse and changing landscapes including today’s heavily developed urban environment. The plaza has undergone design after design after design; even landscape architect Lawrence Halprin tried to lend his creative hand in designing the plaza for the City of San Diego. But alas, the plaza today seems to be little more than another typical block that pedestrians have to cross to get to their destination. The plaza is now being occupied by a vacant building, vagrants, and a fenced off fountain, while its historic landmarks are all but forgotten. This terminal condition of the plaza will not last much longer. Horton Plaza is currently undergoing a major re-design effort by the City of San Diego. This change will be no small task. Horton Plaza will expand to more than double its current size with the demolition of the nearby Robinsons-May building. This re-design has the chance to change the historic plaza forever. Within the context of this urban environment Horton Plaza has the possibility to become home to some of San Diego’s greatest urban spaces. This open ideas design competition gives designers the freedom to create pedestrian and market spaces, re-envisioned water features, planting designs, special events staging grounds or anything that their creativity can envision. Ultimately, the goal of this competition is to encourage critical design approaches and public debate around a vitally important urban space in the heart of Downtown San Diego during a pivotal time in its history.
The revision of Horton Plaza shall be designed to take advantage of the Park’s relationship to Broadway, the adjacent Westfield Horton Plaza Retail Center, the historic Balboa Theatre and the historic U.S. Grant Hotel. The overall concept should evoke a setting that allows an active and vibrant program of daily and weekly events that will attract residents and visitors as the place to be or be seen in San Diego. The resulting design should also be a model of urban sustainability for others cities to emulate.
The primary objective for the Plaza improvements is to create a memorable space that will draw inspiration from the unique characteristics of the San Diego region and transform these elements into a special place, celebrating the city. The Plaza Improvements are envisaged to be the dynamic, active public heart of the city and a true community gathering place. Additionally, improvements to the Park shall enhance the celebratory character of the historic park, reinstate the iconic status of what traditionally has been considered the “center” of downtown and develop programming that will activate the space. The Plaza Improvements should be easily accessible and have good circulation throughout the space. The urban plaza should be memorable and iconic.
Stephen Kelly, Senior Editor, Landscape Online
Stephen holds a B.A. in Communications, from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Currently, he is managing editor for Landscape Architect and Specifier News (LASN) magazine. LASN is published by Landscape Communications, Inc. (LCI), which is based in Tustin, Calif. Mr. Kelly has been with LCI since 2003. LCI is celebrating 26 Years in publishing. Landscape Communications also publishes: Landscape Contractor Design Build Maintain (LCDBM) magazine, www.LandscapeOnline.com (LOL), Landscape Online Weekly (LOL Weekly), Market Trends Report (MTR) Stephen has been involved in reviewing, selecting, writing, editing and bringing to publication hundreds of feature articles highlighting successful landscape architectural projects across the country and abroad. These projects run the gamut of commercial work of landscape architects, including streetscapes, downtown plazas, land planning and campus and park design. Hardscapes, lighting, water features, “Green” and sustainability issues and playgrounds are just some of the focus of the magazine.This background has given Stephen an in-depth understanding of thoughtful design and its impact on communities. How people use these designed spaces, and to what degree, really defines the success of the design. Each year LASN devotes an issue to profiling the design work of landscape architectural firms in certain parts of the country. The “region” is dictated by the location of the annual ASLA Show. With the show in San Diego this year, the Oct. LASN issue will showcase the landscape architecture work of firms in San Diego and the general Southern California region.
Katherine Rudnyk, Monrovia Growers
Katharine has been with Monrovia for 20 years in various marketing and sales positions. Currently she heads up Monrovia’s sales efforts for the design community. She is a member of APLD, ASLA, USGBC, PLANET and CLCA. She has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Tulane University and a horticultural degree from Mt. San Antonio College. She is an advocate for landscape preservation and is active in The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Ken McCown, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Ken McCown is the Chair of the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and has taught architecture, landscape architecture and urban design at the University of Illinois, Cal Poly Pomona and Arizona State University. He earned architecture and landscape architecture degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ken collaborates on interdisciplinary urban design projects centering upon regenerative design and place-making. His collaborative projects include: ASLA award-winning Taj Mahal National Park and Cultural Heritage District; and Barrio Chino in Panama City, Panama for UNESCO. Ken researches green living through residency; he was the Resident Director of the Neutra VDL Research House II and now the New Norris House in Tennessee. Recent honors include the 2010 Award of Honor from the Arizona ASLA for the Scottsdale Sustainable Systems Inventory and the CELA Award of Excellence in Design Studio Teaching. Ken McCown’s photographs have appeared in several venues including in United Nations’ publications, Getty Villa promotional literature, the Storefront for Art + Architecture, and Ken Burns’ “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”