The public green of the new Newport Beach Civic Center and Park plays host to festivals and citywide events, and is anchored at the north end by an addition, also designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, to an existing library.

The public green of the new Newport Beach Civic Center and Park plays host to festivals and citywide events, and is anchored at the north end by an addition, also designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, to an existing library.

Credit: Nic Lehoux


Newport Beach, Calif., an affluent beachside community of roughly 85,000 people, is known for its Pacific Ocean views, high property values, and idyllic temperate climate. Yet near the center of town, there was a 20-acre eyesore: a plot of land so hampered by height restrictions to maintain views and so covered by degraded man-made wetlands that it was considered commercially undevelopable. Who better, then, than the city itself to turn this eyesore into a civic center and community hub?

The north end of the complex also provides the public entry for visitors arriving by car, which, in Newport Beach, is most of them. The council chamber volume (at right) is enclosed by a curving roof that offers both sunshading and wayfinding. This civic center happens in a really suburban context, says Steven Chaitow, AIA, principal and project manager for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. We needed something that announces the civic center to people driving by at 60 miles per hour.

The north end of the complex also provides the public entry for visitors arriving by car, which, in Newport Beach, is most of them. The council chamber volume (at right) is enclosed by a curving roof that offers both sunshading and wayfinding. “This civic center happens in a really suburban context,” says Steven Chaitow, AIA, principal and project manager for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. “We needed something that announces the civic center to people driving by at 60 miles per hour.”

Credit: Nic Lehoux

With an effort led out of its San Francisco office, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) won the commission to outfit the site with a new 100,000-square-foot City Hall that runs alongside a public green. Anchoring the green at the north end is a late addition to the project brief: a 17,000-square-foot addition to an existing public library that serves as a backdrop for public events. And bordering it on the other side is a parking structure that accommodates 450 cars; pedestrian paths crisscross the green every 60 feet to allow access between the two long structures on either side. But this built context is only a fraction of the site, which also includes a community park with a lookout tower to capitalize on ocean views, a pedestrian bridge to allow safe passage across a nine-lane roadway that bisects the site, Newport Beach’s first dog park, and other amenities.

City Hall

City Hall

Credit: Nic Lehoux

Despite being a civic project in a security-conscious age, the project as a whole is characterized by a sense of transparency—both literal, in terms of its glazed walls, and conceptual. Instead of having a single grand lobby, the City Hall is accessible via a series of entrances, connected by shaded pathways and outdoor circulation. Visitors can walk straight from the green into the council chamber (a volume marked by a curvilinear fabric roof that serves the dual purpose of solar shading and iconic branding to distinguish it from the regularized bays of the main building). “It’s a sustainable approach,” says BCJ principal Peter Bohlin, FAIA, of the fact that the various entries and porches allow for natural ventilation in the temperate climate, “but it is also very much a democratic way of imagining a City Hall as a place for people.”

At the north end of the complex are the council chamber (shown left) and community room (right), which are connected by a covered porch. The permeability of the community room reflects the overarching idea that you can have activities and engage people by not having them funnel through a stuffy formal building, says Gregory Mottola, AIA, principal-in-charge of the project. The light bulb really went off for the city about how they could use this space.

At the north end of the complex are the council chamber (shown left) and community room (right), which are connected by a covered porch. The permeability of the community room reflects the overarching idea “that you can have activities and engage people by not having them funnel through a stuffy formal building,” says Gregory Mottola, AIA, principal-in-charge of the project. “The light bulb really went off for the city about how they could use this space.”

Credit: Nic Lehoux

  • The community room can be opened to the fresh air on two sides, and can be reconfigured to house multiple types of events.

    Credit: Nic Lehoux

    The community room can be opened to the fresh air on two sides, and can be reconfigured to house multiple types of events.
  • Each bay of the City Hall building has a different entrance, allowing easier access to the various departments, and for outdoor circulation via shaded paths.

    Credit: Nic Lehoux

    Each bay of the City Hall building has a different entrance, allowing easier access to the various departments, and for outdoor circulation via shaded paths.

Inside the City Hall volume, natural light penetrates deep into the floor plateone of many strategies that were employed to help the complex achieve a LEED Gold rating, exceeding the citys LEED Silver requirement.

Inside the City Hall volume, natural light penetrates deep into the floor plate—one of many strategies that were employed to help the complex achieve a LEED Gold rating, exceeding the city’s LEED Silver requirement.

Credit: Nic Lehoux

The entrance to the library addition anchors the south end of the public green.

The entrance to the library addition anchors the south end of the public green.

Credit: Nic Lehoux

A stairwell in the library addition is capped by a yellow-painted oculus.

A stairwell in the library addition is capped by a yellow-painted oculus.

Credit: Nic Lehoux

A lookout tower in the park allows pedestrians to see out to the Pacific Ocean, while still conforming to the height restrictions of the site, which were put in place to preserve views for existing developments inland.

A lookout tower in the park allows pedestrians to see out to the Pacific Ocean, while still conforming to the height restrictions of the site, which were put in place to preserve views for existing developments inland.

Credit: Nic Lehoux

A pedestrian bridge crosses a protected area that originated as an uncovered storm system and developed into wetlands over time.

A pedestrian bridge crosses a protected area that originated as an uncovered storm system and developed into wetlands over time.

Credit: Nic Lehoux

Drawings

Credit: Courtesy Bohlin Cywinski Jackson



ProjectCredits

Project  Newport Beach Civic Center and Park, Newport Beach, Calif.
Client  City of Newport Beach
Architect  Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, San Francisco—Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA (lead design principal); Gregory R. Mottola, AIA (principal in charge/design principal); Steven Chaitow, AIA (principal/project manager); Joshua Keller, Daniel Lee, AIA (lead project architects); Brigham Keehner, AIA, Yvonne Riggie, Karolina Kaczmarczyk, Ryan Simpson, Christopher Eastman, Jeffrey Lew, AIA, Nicholas Ruiz, Michael Waltner, Lena Shah, Helene Gregoire, Yung Chang, Chris Dobosz, Sandy Lam, Arash Archer Firouzi, Lulu Fang, Ashley Hinton, Dominique Price, AIA, Reggie Stump, Jen Kishi, Erika Miele, Shawn Wood
Landscape Architect  PWP Landscape Architecture
M/E/P, Structural, and Civil Engineering/Lighting, Sustainability, and Telecommunications Consultant  Arup
Cost Consultants  C.P. O’Halloran Associates
Acoustics and Audiovisual  Charles M. Salter Associates
Food Service  Hammer Design Associates
Code Consultants  The Fire Consultants
Security  TransTech Systems
Graphic Design and Wayfinding  Ph.D, A Design Office
Waterproofing  Allana Buick & Bers
General Contractor  C.W. Driver
Photography  Nic Lehoux, David Wakely, and Tim Griffith
Size  20 acres; 100,000 square feet (City Hall); 17,000 square feet (library addition)
Cost  $105 million

Material and Sources

Ceilings  9Wood (linear wood) 9wood.com; Armstrong (acoustic panels) armstrong.com; Newmat USA (stretched PVC) newmatusa.com; Owens Corning Eurospan (stretched fabric) conweddesignscape.com
Flooring  Architectural Granite and Marble (stone) agmgranite.com; Haworth (access) haworth.com; Shaw Contract Group (custom carpet) shawcontractgroup.com
Furniture  Arper arper.com; Artek artek.fi; Coalesse coalesse.com; David Rowland hermanmiller.com; Davis Furniture www.davisfurniture.com; Eagen; Republic of Fritz Hansen fritzhansen.com; Harbour Outdoor harbouroutdoor.com; Herman Miller hermanmiller.com; Haworth haworth.com; Humanscale humanscale.com; KI ki.com; Knoll knoll.com; Magnuson Group magnusongroup.com; Metro-Wire metro-wire.com; Vode; West Coast Industries westcoastindustries.com
Furniture Dealers  IOS (Interior Office Solutions) (systems) interiorofficesolutions.com; Pivot Interiors (seating and ancillary) pivotinteriors.com
Lighting  B-K Lighting bklighting.com; Bega bega-us.com; H.E. Williams hewilliams.com; Kurt Versen Co. kurtversen.com; LBL Lighting lbllighting.com; Legion Lighting Co. legionlighting.com; Linear Lighting Corp. www.linearltg.com; Litelab Corp. litelab.com; Lumenpulse lumenpulse.com; Philips Color Kinetics colorkinetics.com; Selux Corp. selux.us; Vode Lighting vode.com
Lighting (Library Only)  Erco erco.com; Lucifer Lighting Co. luciferlighting.com; Philips Ledalite www.ledalite.com; TMS Lighting tmslighting.com; Zumtobel www.zumtobel.us
Millwork  Montbleau & Associates montbleau.com
Textiles  Designtex, A Steelcase Company designtex.com; Knoll knoll.com; Maharam maharam.com; Momentum Group themomgroup.com
Translucent Resin Panels  Lentech Composites lentech.us
Wall Finishes  Arcadia (interior storefront) arcadiainc.com; Montbleau & Associates (wood wall panels) montbleau.com; Vista Paint Corp. (paint) vistapaint.com