Location:  Newport Beach, California

Client:  City of Newport Beach

The Newport Beach City Hall and Park site is central to major landmarks and destinations in Orange County. Easy access exists to UC Irvine, a center of learning and new knowledge; Newport Center and the Irvine Spectrum, centers of commerce and industry; Fashion Island, a center of style and a model Southern California retail destination; and Newport Bay, the Islands, the Harbor and Beaches.

The site is characterized by a host of native coastal plants and a topography which provides uninterrupted views of the coast. A desire to preserve these views, maximize the native landscape and respect the mandated view shed restrictions form the basis of our design concept. Two central buildings, one for civic administration, the other to house the city council chamber, are set into the ground, allowing the extraordinary public park to pass over the tops of the buildings as lush planted roofs. A new major civic plaza creates a foreground for the two buildings with views to the surrounding community and the Pacific Ocean. Park circulation passes through the new City Hall complex and connects to the adjacent library building. Park, City Hall and library are unified. Views to the surrounding landscape and ocean beyond are maximized. Parking is conveniently located to serve all parts of the new project plus the library.

The Park is organized around a half-mile boardwalk which runs along the primary ridges of the site and connects the major ecological and programmatic spaces. The boardwalk and City Hall terraces will be focal points for civic life, much as the Balboa

Pavilion and Pier are icons of the city’s recreational amenities. The project transitions from a rugged and dynamic experience at the northern end to a refined and elegant civic space at its southern terminus, adjacent to the Newport Beach Public Library. Throughout the length of the park, visitors are encouraged to break from the main boardwalk alongside pathways to experience the landscape more immediately using the piers and ecological circuits within each unique planting community. They will encounter a dynamic series of landscapes that highlight seasonal change in light, wind, water, planting, color, and visitor experiences.

A comprehensive hydrologic system will manage storm water from both on and off the site. Currently the Park receives and stores storm water from the adjacent neighborhoods. This capacity will be increased substantially to allow for filtration and recharge as well as reuse in a series of civic water elements.

The Newport Beach City Hall Park will promote an active civic life for Newport Beach and reconnect all visitors with the beautiful native landscapes of Southern California.