Congratulations to JKA for wining the People’s Choice Orchid Award: The Imperial Beach Public Library, selected by the public through an online vote.
The 14,000-square-foot library was built for the city of Imperial Beach on county-owned land. Working with T.B. Penick and Sons, Inc., the architects on the design-build project included Jeff Katz Architecture, Domusstudio Architecture and Delawie.
The building exudes a coastal vibe with a curling wave feature on the roof and colorful interior spaces designed to resemble beach cottages, said Jeff Katz, whose firm was the lead architect on the project.
The project drew on substantial input from community members throughout the design process, Katz said.
“I think we’ve been able to create a facility that everybody really loves and enjoys in that community,” he said. “And as designers, having a project acknowledged by the public as a successful project is probably the greatest compliment that we could be paid.”
The library was not the only public project in the South Bay area to win an Orchid; the National City Aquatic Center won an award in the Architecture category.
At the mouth of the Sweetwater River Channel, the 5,500-square-foot facility took nearly a decade, from planning to completion, said Taal Safdie of Safdie Rabines Architects.
The concept revolves around a central pavilion that serves as a multipurpose room and gathering space. The highly transparent structure is topped by a kite-like roof that hovers above clear glass walls.
“It celebrates the water and the plants and the landscape,” said Safdie Rabines co-founder Ricardo Rabines.
Placed on what is essentially the only publicly accessible waterfront in National City, the aquatic center replaced a facility housed in a group of trailers for more than a decade. Since opening, Safdie said, the aquatic center has revitalized the site, which is adjacent to the 5.5-acre Pepper Park.
“Now a lot of people come to use the building and use the park,” she said. “More people and more eyes make a place feel safer and more welcoming.”