The smell of the grass, the roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat—all are hallmarks of America's ostensibly favorite pastime. Many have enjoyed a heated baseball game from the bleachers, the stands, or even a skybox, but Carrier Johnson + Culture's new Diamond View Tower in San Diego gives fans the opportunity to enjoy the game from an unexpected venue—their desks. Located just past right field in the Antoine Predock– and HOK-designed ballpark for the San Diego Padres, Diamond View is a multitenant, 15-story office building. Both the ballpark and the office building are located in East Village, an area once known for nearly empty streets and an abundance of brick warehouses, and on the border of the Park at the Park—a public green space by day and part of the mixed-use ticketed experience during game time. Diamond View is part of the redevelopment that has brought new life to the area.

With a building this large and diverse, multiple design teams were involved in the project, including one for the exterior, one for the interior, and one for a gentlemen's spa on the ground floor. But across the board, the designers decided to incorporate the element of baseball. Sometimes obvious, sometimes nod-and-wink, the references to the sport in the tower's design give the building an element of levity.

The subtly baseball-influenced exterior design began with a photo collage documenting the sport, both historically and in the present day. The base of the building is a squat four stories of brick to dialogue with the surrounding warehouse buildings—incorporating the historic Candy Factory building on one corner of the site. From this rises the glass tower, clad in PPG glass and Alpolic aluminum composite panels. Frank Wolden, design principal and creative director at Carrier Johnson + Culture, notes that the arrangement of these panels on the face nearest the ballpark was informed by old scoreboards. Cantilevered balconies act as bleachers, allowing people to watch the game from the rooftop.

But these elements do not detract from the building's essential modernity. “The idea of how the building met the street started with the idea of modern brick boxes that tie it to the historical context of the East Village,” Wolden says. But he also notes the desire to “juxtapose that with something more ethereal or more temporal. The office building almost disappears into the sky. That was achieved because of our glazing choices.”

The materials vocabulary of the exterior, as well as the baseball theme, was carried into the building through the public spaces. Starting at the lobby, the interiors team used a glass-and-metal palette consistent with the façades, warming it up with wood and fabric as visitors reach the center of the building. The main lobby bisects the tower and looks toward the city on one side and out on the Park at the Park on the other. Solnhofen limestone floor tiles were laid to mimic the sidewalk and to recall the concrete used as part of the building structure, creating a public thoroughfare. Perforated metal panels are used as accents, but the main focal point is a backlit Panelite wall (orange daily and blue when the Padres are playing) that has the most obvious nod to the game, a graphic element by Brand I.D. Graphics that tells the history of baseball through photos, stats, and a timeline.

The materials take on a warmer tone in the center of the lobby, in part, says Edward Polk, senior associate at Carrier Johnson + Culture, to let people know they have reached the heart of the building. Horizontal teak panels at the guard desk are evocative of old-fashioned baseball dugouts, and the arrangement of those panels recalls the exterior paneling of the building.

If visitors take the elevator to the 15th floor, they reach the last grand public space, an entertainment venue for tenants that can be rented out on game days that Polk refers to as “the ultimate skybox.” A large, nearly double-height room spans the parkside portion of the floor, with a bar and lounge. The surface of the bar is the same limestone as the lobby flooring, creating a cross-floor dialogue, and the baseball theme is continued, with wood flooring that mimics wooden bats, leather-wrapped wall panels that recall an old worn-in glove—“you can even smell the leather,” says Polk—and a circular dropped ceiling with inset Plexineon strips that looks like an abstract baseball. But the focal point is an exterior space with lounge furniture, a fire pit, and a view of home plate that even a baseball hater can love.

But because Diamond View is a multi-tenant space, the Carrier Johnson + Culture team could take things only so far. They worked with tenants on signage and additions to the public space, and they worked with tenant Cox Communications early on to rework the exit corridors to better suit the television studio's needs. They did complete one other space, the Well-Heeled Gentlemen's Spa on the ground floor, giving a new twist to the typical feminine salon experience. With concrete floors and FAP Ceramiche silver tiles around the bar—yes, bar, and cigars are also rumored to be available on occasion—the space has a sleek look and touches such as Porsche-designed chairs that make the salon more masculine.


Design Principal

Carrier Johnson + Culture
FRANK WOLDEN Design Principal Carrier Johnson + Culture

Another tenant space, IPG, also takes a minimalist modern take, using elements found elsewhere in the building while still creating its own identity. Designed by Howard Sneed Architecture and Design, a firm that specified the furniture for the 15th-floor entertainment venue, the stock trading office features large blank walls to showcase one of the founding partners' impressive art collection—he is also a member of the MoMA board. A graphic glass wall by Stuart White Design separates the trading floor from the lobby. “We wanted to create something very open so that you can see through the space, and we created long corridors to give the space an art gallery feel,” says Lily Argüelles, lead designer on the project.

A diverse project, yes, but Diamond View Tower manages to retain a sense of character that takes it beyond the typical core and shell project. “It appears by day as a contemporary office building,” says Wolden, “but then it has the ability to transform into part of the ballpark, as the roofs fill up and the terraces fill up, and the party room gets going.” The ultimate skybox indeed.

Project: Diamond View Tower
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Client: Cisterra Partners
Architect, Interior Designer of Public Space and of the Well-Heeled Gentlemen's Salon and Spa: Carrier Johnson + Culture— Gordon R. Carrier, Frank Wolden (design principals); Steven Schrader (senior project manager); Barbara Jetzer (senior project designer); Edward Polk (senior interior designer); Frank Landry (project architect); Je. Haack (environmental graphics and signage); Howard Sneed Architecture and Design (furniture specification for penthouse entertainment venue)
Interior Designer, IPG Offices: Howard Sneed Architecture and Design—Janice Howard (president); Lily Argüelles (lead designer, construction administration)
Landscape Architect: Michael Peltz & Associates
General Contractor: Reno Contracting
M/E/P Engineer: McParlane and Associates
Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Electrical Engineer: MPE Consulting
Acoustical Consultant: VSA n Associates
Curtain Wall Consultant: Curtainwall Design Consultants
Soils Engineer: Construction Testing & Engineering
Design/Build Mechanical Contractor: CA Comfort Systems
Design/Build Electrical Contractor: Dynalectric
Design/Build Plumbing Contractor: Paschall Mechanical
Design/Build Fire Protection Contractor: Schmidt Fire Protection

PRODUCT SPECS Exterior Location Exterior cladding
Product Curtain wall framing system
Manufacturer Texas Wall Systems

Location Exterior cladding
Product Storefront framing system
Manufacturer Texas Wall Systems

Location Exterior cladding
Product Green, clear, and gray glass
Manufacturer PPG

Location Exterior cladding
Product Belcrest 730 A
Manufacturer Belden Brick

Location Exterior cladding
Product Meadow Blend
Manufacturer Belden Brick

Location Exterior cladding
Product Aluminum composite panels
Manufacturer Alpolic

Location Exterior cladding
Product Precast concrete

Location Exterior cladding
Product Monolithic glass entry system

WALLS Location Lobby
Product Custom teak wall panels
Manufacturer Montbleau & Associates

Location Lobby
Product Fabric-wrapped panels with Maharam Parallel fabric
Manufacturer Quality Painting

Location Lobby
Product Backlit glass panels, IGU/TC-4
Manufacturer Panelite

Location Lobby and penthouse entertainment venue
Product Environmental graphics and signage
Manufacturer Brand I.D. Graphics

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Wrapped leather panels
Manufacturer Edelman Leather

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Backlit wall – AO/RO composite resin panel
Manufacturer Panelite

FLOORING Location Exterior decks
Product Slate

Location Lobby
Product Gray limestone, bush hammered finish
Manufacturer Solnhofen

Location Public spaces
Product Fragments collection carpet
Manufacturer Shaw Contract

Location Public spaces
Product Resilient base
Manufacturer Roppe

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Valenza Collection / Pangali ironwood hardwood flooring
Manufacturer Armstrong

Location Spa
Product Concrete floors—custom stain and highly polished concrete in front area, epoxy with nonskid in treatment area
Manufacturer West Coast Coatings

Location Party room
Product Next Step hardwood flooring
Manufacturer Lauzon

Location IPG
Product Maple Century Farm Peppercorn flooring
Manufacturer Armstrong

CEILINGS Location Lobby and public spaces
Product Ultima panels
Manufacturer Armstrong

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Techstyle acoustical panels
Manufacturer Hunter Douglas Contract

DOORS Location Throughout
Product Varied
Manufacturer Marshfield Door Systems

Location IPG
Product 24-inch ladder-style door hardware
Manufacturer CR Laurence

LIGHTING Location Penthouse entertainment venue, recessed at baseball ceiling
Product Plexineon
Manufacturer iLight Technologies

Location Penthouse entertainment venue and backlit glass wall in lobby
Product Lyte span track light, metal halide lamp
Manufacturer Lightolier

Location Spa manicure stations
Product Pierce decorative wall sconces
Manufacturer Kovacs

Location Spa bar, reception desk, hallway
Product Kon decorative pendant at bar, Flexa large pendant fixture at reception desk and Flexa scones in hallway
Manufacturer Leucos

Location Spa hallway
Product Track lighting
Manufacturer Tiella

Location Spa hair stations
Product Decorative fixtures
Manufacturer LBL

Location Spa window
Product Bloom, in different sizes and colors to create an art piece at the window
Manufacturer Resolute

FINISHES Location Lobby
Product Perforated metal
Manufacturer McNichols

Location Spa fountain and bar
Product Vision Stream argento ceramic tile
Manufacturer FAP Ceramiche

Location Spa locker room
Product Ceramic tile
Manufacturer Ceramiche Caesar

Location Spa bathroom
Product Wooden ledge
Manufacturer Tabla/Fabrizio Scippa

Location Lobby, public corridors, bathrooms, party room
Product Aqua Seal
Manufacturer Frazee Paint

Location IPG
Product Rustic Cladding Collection stone
Manufacturer Island Stone

Location IPG
Product Glass graphics
Manufacturer Stuart White Design

Location IPG
Product Satin glide interior paint
Manufacturer Frazee Paint

FURNITURE Location Lobby
Product Custom-fabricated desk
Manufacturer Montbleau & Associates

Location Penthouse entertainment venue entry
Product Cordovan bench
Manufacturer Holly Hunt

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Modular sofas, Salome Collection
Manufacturer Indx Designs

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Helena lounge chairs with HBF fabric
Manufacturer Bernhardt

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Credenza and floor lamps
Manufacturer Roche Bobois

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Eileen Grey side tables
Manufacturer Design Within Reach

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Lipse barstools
Manufacturer Davis Furniture

Location Penthouse entertainment venue
Product Custom fabricated bar with limestone finish
Manufacturer Montbleau & Associates (bar fabricator); Solnhofen (limestone finish)

Location Penthouse entertainment venue (exterior)
Product Lounge and Orbit collections lounge furniture
Manufacturer Dedon

Location Penthouse entertainment venue (exterior)
Product Oasis table bases
Manufacturer Janus et Cie

Location Penthouse entertainment venue (exterior)
Product Lounge collection barstools
Manufacturer Dedon

Location Spa salon
Product Salon chairs
Manufacturer Gamma and Bross (Italy)

Location Spa salon
Product Custom wood table
Manufacturer Randall Cramer

FIXTURES Location Penthouse entertainment venue (exterior)
Product Gratia planter
Manufacturer Design Within Reach

Location Spa reception
Product Custom-designed water feature
Manufacturer LL Innovation

Location Spa bathroom
Product Lava Cienega Sink
Manufacturer Alchemy

Location Spa bathroom
Product Toilets
Manufacturer Toto Soiree

Location Spa bathroom, treatment rooms floor lamps
Product Bathroom tile and treatment room sinks
Manufacturer International Bath & Tile

Location Spa salon, reception
Product Salon equipment
Manufacturer Gamma and Bross (Italy)