In San Diego, as in much of Southern California, Spanish Mission style is the fallback architectural inspiration. But it need not be the only inspiration for a design project. Visit these historic buildings to stimulate ideas for your next project:
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala
The lesson to be learned from this first historic California mission is that building, garden and grounds can be melded seamlessly. The soaring, scalloped multi-bell tower contrasts perfectly with spare walls; Both are enhanced by rustic gates, brick-lined courtyards, trees, fountains, statuary, colorful bougainvillea, and the interplay of light and shadow in doorways and corridors. It is understated and majestic in equal proportion. Even ornate elements of the interior complement rather than compete with the simple, natural backdrop. It is this perfection that should provide inspiration for modern design.
Marston House Museum & Gardens
Although it seems a bit incongruous to think of the stunning Marston House, now in Balboa Park, as a family “farmhouse,” that is exactly what it was, built as the centerpiece of five acres that later became a stunning formal garden. The house itself is a masterful example of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Built in 1905, the three-story, 8,500 square foot home displays iconic features of the turn-of-the century style. It is quintessentially American and immediately recognizable by its low-pitched roof lines, spacious porches, distinctive windows, dormers and earthy colors. Today it is a reminder of the past, but it also speaks to the subject of lasting appeal, and the importance of craftsmanship in fine design.
For creative ideas, you really don’t have to go beyond San Diego’s beloved Gaslamp Quarter. Take the time to gaze at the Art Deco Dalton Building, marvel at the “over the top” ornate facade of Louis Bank of Commerce with its Baroque features, enjoy the remodeled “twin” Horton and Saddlery Hotels, and recall the Victorian era at the Grand Pacific Hotel with its stunning brick facade and iron details. While these buildings would not translate into a modern vernacular, they can certainly point a distinctive direction.
San Diego County Administration Center
The Jewel on the Bay, with a history as interesting as its architecture, stands as a reminder of what collaboration can look like. Spanish Revival meets Beaux Arts in this massive building, and both are embellished with tiled accents, arched openings, fluted columns, cement figures and inscriptions meant to inspire and proclaim the purpose of the building. Interior features are also notable, the brass-inlaid terrazzo flooring, antique marble walls, bronze elevator doors and mahogany stair rails are just a few of the features worth attention.
University of California San Diego Buildings
The Geisel Library is, perhaps, the most recognizable building on campus. The reinforced concrete structure, designed and originally constructed in the late 1960s, reinforces the notion that good design is never out of style. Now nearing its 50th birthday, the building is as mesmerizing today as it was in its infancy. Also worthy of note is the Price Center-Student Union complex, both for its original core and for its later expansions. It’s a great example of need-based architecture that is really good to look at as well.
These are just a few of many historical buildings in San Diego. When thinking of your next construction project, the county is full of design inspiration for you to draw on. When you’re ready to bring your designs to life, StoneCo Building Group is happy to assist. Our experienced team can handle every aspect of your build, from pre-construction aspects such as Conceptual Estimating and Design Management to construction from the ground up. Regardless of where you are in the process, we can help. Contact us today.