San Diego Convention Center Expansion

San Diego Convention Center Expansion

A green-roofed addition to the San Diego Convention Center.
Fentress Architects

Architect: Fentress Architects
Client: San Diego Convention Center Authority
Location: San Diego, CA
Completion: 2015

Fentress Architects have just been chosen to design phase three of the San Diego Convention Center, a project that will add almost a quarter of a million square feet of exhibition space to the complex, and create several acres of rooftop parkland along the San Diego Bay.

New parkland will be created on top of the convention center addition.

The existing center, a striking design created by Arthur Erickson in the 1980’s, features angular, sail-shaped exterior structures, a curving glass facade and a fabric rooftop. The addition, points out principal Curtis Fentress, will defer to that design. The façade, for instance, will likely be “a very simple glassy wall that looks out to the waters’ edge,” said Fentress. The building will maintain a low profile so as not to block existing views.

New retail space will be added along the bay front promenade.

Perhaps most notably the project will add 30,000 square feet of new retail along the city’s existing bay front promenade as well as five acres of grassy space built onto its roof. That area, accessible via a large ramp, will include angular stretches of green space and pervious paving, and will likely have a band shell for concerts and other events. The firm will be working with landscape firm Civitas on the landscape. “It’s about bringing new amenities to the public,” explained Fentress of the design’s focus.

Another view shows the addition connecting to Arthur Erickson’s 1980’s original.

Inside the addition will add 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, 80,000 square feet of ballroom space, and 100,000 square feet of meeting spaces, making it the largest exhibit hall on the west coast. City officials hope approvals for the project’s environmental review and funding plan will be completed in 2011 with review by the California Coastal Commission completed in 2012. Completion is expected by 2015.

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