project information


  • SIZE - 2,800 SQUARE FEET

  • COST - $2.275 MILLION


When the City of Del Mar did not have the capital funds to replace its dilapidated and deteriorating Lifeguard Headquarters, Del Mar looked to a unique partner to finance the construction of a new Beach Safety Center -  the community. The City entered into a financing agreement with a group of residents who formed a non-profit organization, the Friends of the Powerhouse, to replace the inadequate existing structure and ensure effective lifeguard protection and improved access to the beach for residents and the millions of visitors to the beaches of Del Mar.  The design of the new 2,840sf Safety Center included a new sea wall, a new building to house administrative functions such as: activities monitoring, and an observation deck with slide pole for quick beach access, triage areas to treat emergencies and sting ray injuries, locker rooms, a garage to house atv’s and safety vehicles, and also public restrooms and showers. 


In addition to the lifeguard building, the project also included covering an existing storm drain channel located adjacent to the building with a new culvert, and a boardwalk above it, to improve drainage and create an enhanced access walkway to the beach. The new beach safety center has ensured effective lifeguard protection and improved access to the beach for residents and the millions of visitors to the beaches of Del Mar.

The aesthetic quality of this building was very important to the community of Del Mar. During concept design and throughout design development, the design team held several meetings with community leaders to get their input on the aesthetics of the building. It was agreed upon that the small, but prominent building, would need to fit in with the neighboring beach community, but it was important to create a building that made an impact and would make the community proud. The use of common materials such as CMU and steel members were accented by more appealing materials and details. For example, exposed glu-lam beams and an out-of-the-ordinary curved roof added more interest to the building. Additionally, the board-formed concrete walkway covering the new culvert was designed to look like a boardwalk, creating a much more impacting and attractive beach access for locals and visitors. Around the building, planters and seat walls incorporating local artists’ work add local and personal design elements to the site. Meanwhile decorative tiles, benches, and trellises flanking the boardwalk, that were donated by community members, further heighten the sense of pride the community feels at having this new facility.