The San Diego Harbor boasts views of the Pt. Loma peninsula, downtown skyline and Coronado, breathtaking 360º views in this idyllic amphitheater. It is understandable that when Cabrillo discovered the harbor and its safe haven from the rugged seas of the Pacific he decided to stay for a stretch. People have been following Cabrillo’s lead for centuries, making San Diego home and creating an unquenchable demand for housing in America’s Finest City. If the height of the price tag dictates the level of demand, and it certainly does in real estate, the closer to the water the more zeroes trailing the $ you will find. As the remaining grains of sand and soil are developed upon land, where can growth occur, how can the thirst for waterfront property be quenched. You can build vertically, but that can tarnish the views to the priceless living natural artwork everyone desires to hang in each window of their home, the Pacific Ocean. Ocean view is another buzzword in the real estate market that equals those zeroes trailing the $. So what is the solution?
Ahh, yes, what could be better than waterfront living, how about actually living on the water. I’m not speaking of the Dubai approach of man made islands, which seem to try and compete with the natural world rather than exist in unison. And from some recent reports, Dubai Island Falling into the Sea, I think the natural world is going to win that bout just about every time, sometimes it may take a few extra rounds, but its going to when by decision, TKO or straight up KO eventually. So how do you build in unison, in a sustainable, complementary manner to the existing waterfront, well you engage the services of an architect, you hire Miller Hull. The Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle, Washington is recognized for there ability to develop and design sustainable, harmonious projects that enhance the land it stands upon. The project on the San Diego waterfront, Wharf at America’s Cup Harbor, is a perfect example of the vision and talents of Miller Hull.
To discuss and scout the project I met Robert Hull and Norman Strong of Miller Hull on a rainy Seattle like afternoon. Yes it does rain in San Diego....occasionally. After I accused and they pled guilty to bringing the Seattle weather along, we set forth with reviewing the project and discussing the needs of the images for Miller Hull. Asking questions and listening are key skills to producing successful imagery for a client, its not always just about a beautiful image. The quality and beauty of imagery is expected and goes without saying, but the imagery must also fit the client needs, solving their needs just as they have their clients. This was my initial opportunity to work with Miller Hull which made this information gathering and scouting even more critical.
The project consists of retail, restaurants, office space, open space and the boat slips that provide the potential for housing. The restaurant, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern occupies the ground floor of one of the tandem structures while the retail and offices fill the second level. The view from the harbor master office is certainly spectacular, taking in the boat masts rising vertically before the view of Pt. Loma and the open ocean and also enjoys the warmth and vibrance of the afternoon sun. As a photographer, an artist, I was equally drawn to the artist studio that occupies the second story of the street front facade. Facing due north, the soft filtered light illuminating the white walled single room studio compares to the NYC photo studios boasting of their northern exposure, not just prime real estate, but also primo light.
The majority of photography was completed in a single day, arriving on site at sunrise, only to be greeted by a thick marine layer and packing up equipment after the sun dipped below the horizon. An additional early morning trip took place to capture the northern facade in early morning, marine layer-less, sunlight. My “office” for the day, on the water, smelling the salty air, listening to the seagulls, the lapping water on the rocks provided the perfect multi sense inspiration for a days work. Before you chime in, “what a plush job”, let me remind you that not every project is located on the waterfront in 70º San Diego, I’ve got stories of minus temps in Chicago in January or 115º Dallas in August, working outside all day, that keep one even keeled. The visual stimulation of the Miller Hull designs and use of complementary materials, textures and tones fueled my own creative juices. These are the days where you hear your stomach bark at you and realize its 3PM and you’ve yet to even consider stopping for any lunch. As a photographer, I love these days and am extremely thankful for cliff bars and water.
On the heels of projects like The Wharf at America’s Cup Harbor and Pier 32, Miller Hull is opening a San Diego office in April. They are currently working on the redesign of the US - Mexico bordering crossing at San Ysidro, a significant project and massive undertaking. I look forward to welcoming my friends, Miller Hull, to San Diego and am eager to witness more of their outstanding designs grace the San Diego landscape.