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Smart Growth Awards project nominee

Medical center utilities screen to reconnect pedestrian pathways

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UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center has nearly completed a much-needed infrastructure upgrade to replace the utilities supplying the Medical Campus from the Central Plant. Due to existing site constraints, the new utilities have been constructed within the rim of the canyon, which offers panoramic views to Mission Valley and the ocean. Recognizing that the new utilities create an eyesore to the public, UCSD commissioned Bluemotif Architecture to design a landscape fence to screen the interesting but unsightly infrastructure from public view.

Bluemotif conducted a site analysis and recognized a series of broken circulation paths that have fallen victim to unplanned growth over time. The new screening element was conceived as an opportunity to repair and create pedestrian links between existing structures, paths and uncaptured views.

The concept developed into a site planning issue more than a fence design project. The resulting design, although only at a schematic level, is a multicomponent landscape object that offers safe pedestrian links, view platforms and a landscape sculpture that screens the utilities where necessary and also captures small views of the infrastructure to offer education about the lifeblood of the campus. The resulting design is not only a campus amenity, but an amenity to the community, as it reconnects severed pedestrian walking and jogging links that once meandered through the site.

The project is currently on hold due to the state's budgetary constraints.

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