National City Aquatic Center

National City, CA

Positioned on the southern edge of the 5½-acre Pepper Park at the mouth of the Sweetwater River Channel, this single-story, two-structure aquatic center was designed to facilitate recreational and educational services for the community. Replacing a makeshift facility housed in trailers for over a decade, the center serves as a beacon that marks the channel entry while capitalizing upon its unobstructed views towards protected wetlands, San Diego Bay and beyond. A large community gathering and activity space is located in the easternmost structure under a faceted, flying roof. Perched atop a base of clear glass walls, the roof appears to glide kite-like into the sky creating a fluid dynamic for its larger counterpart to the west. Across an open-air walkway, offices are contained in a box comprised of 4’ intermittently operable windows. Like the bridge of a ship, the box also serves as a lookout, its clear glass walls enabling observation of activities taking place on the water and the center’s surroundings. To the west, an angular concrete block structure floats behind like a barge, and contains boat and equipment storage, restrooms and locker rooms. Separate yet unified, the buildings are secured and coalesced with custom galvanized steel gates accented and brushed acrylic panels.

Client: City of National City, CA, and Port of San Diego
Completion: 2016
Size: 5,500 SF
  • San Diego Architectural Foundation