The new International Cottages in Balboa Park are completed!

The brand new International Cottages in Balboa Park are finally finished! The construction site fences are down and the House of Peru is already moving in!

Late today I walked though the two new sections of the now expanded House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five structures have been built for nine nations or cultural units. As you can see from my photographs, the new cottages are beautiful!

Two new structures on the northeast side of the International Cottages will showcase Mexico, Panama and the Philippines; three structures on the southwest side will showcase Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

After years and years of bureaucratic delays and financial struggle, this truly historic project is complete!

I peered through many new cottage windows as I walked around and saw mostly vacant space. But the House of Peru has begun to move in and they’ll have a “soft opening” for the public beginning tomorrow!

If you’d like to see photos of the big festive groundbreaking event almost five years ago, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The new Aztec Stadium rises!

San Diego State University’s new Aztec Stadium in Mission Valley is rapidly rising!

I took some photos in late April and you could see back then how the construction had just begun. Now huge supporting steel beams for the stands and stadium lights can be easily seen from Friars Road!

I took these photographs from the southwest side of the stadium late this afternoon.

UPDATE!

A week and a half later I took the next series of photos. My walk continued along Friars Road on the north side of the new Aztec Stadium.

I encountered someone else gazing over the construction site fence. He remarked the stadium was going up quickly. I had to agree!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Renovation of Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries begins!

The exterior renovation of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building in Balboa Park’s Palisades area has begun!

I noticed during my walk through Balboa Park this morning that the painting of the building is underway. The new color matches that of the recently painted San Diego Automotive Museum directly across Pan American Plaza.

If you’d like to learn more about the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building, which has long served as the Municipal Gymnasium, and to see how the historic building will appear after its renovation is complete, check out this post from early last month.

(Visit that old blog post and you’ll see an image of the fantastic bronze panel that will be installed directly above the entrance!)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Old Town State Park expansion nears completion!

This morning I walked around the north end of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. I wanted to check out the progress that has been made with the State Park’s big expansion.

Old Town’s new outdoor interpretative area is beautiful and appears to be nearing completion!

I took photos of the area under construction four months ago and posted them here. You can definitely see the progress!

This large plot of land where the old Caltrans building used to be–at the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street–is being converted into an inviting space that is alive with native vegetation and historical exhibits. Visitors walking along various pathways will have the opportunity to learn about the life and culture of the Native American Kumeyaay people. The Kumeyaay lived here by the San Diego River long before Europeans arrived.

The California State Parks website refers to this outdoor space as Land of the First People Exhibit Area—called Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok.

As I circled the construction site fence, I noticed many plaques have been installed. I’ll be eager to read them once this area opens to the public.

This is what I saw…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Restoring history at the Gymnasium in Balboa Park!

The Municipal Gymnasium in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a popular destination for local athletes playing basketball. I like to venture inside during a weekend to watch part of a game.

I often wonder if those playing hoops in the old gym know they’re inside a historically important building that was constructed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building–today’s gymnasium–still retains an indication of its unique origin. Look down as you approach the front door and you’ll see this artwork in the entry…

I learned yesterday from local architect Robert Thiele (whose many accomplishments include designing the beautiful rotunda fountain inside the San Diego Museum of Art) that big changes are coming to this historic building. Decorative elements of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries are being restored!

Later this summer a fantastic 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel will be hung above the entrance with bands of ornament above and below. You can see the bronze panel in that very first photograph.

Several architectural visualizations show how Balboa Park’s Municipal Gymnasium will appear once the panel is installed. Grand ornamental flourishes will crown both the building’s entrance and panel. Compare the following images.

Quite an amazing difference!

I’ve asked people who might be knowledgeable if this historic building, located next to three important San Diego museums, will continue to be used as a gym in the future, but that seems uncertain at this point. If anyone has more information concerning the Municipal Gymnasium’s fate, please leave a comment!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Mayan ornamentation added to Automotive Museum!

Uniquely beautiful Mayan ornamentation has been added to the front of the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

This sculptural artwork, completed recently, has made the Automotive Museum’s historic 1935 California State Building even more amazing!

A little over a month ago, four permanent tile murals were installed above the Automotive Museum’s front entrance. In my opinion the new Mayan designs frame and complement the murals handsomely. (To learn more about the colorful tile murals, and to compare how the California State Building looked before the addition of Mayan ornamentation, you can click here.)

One thing I noticed is that the Mayan decoration now aesthetically links the California State Building to the old Federal Building, which is also located in Balboa Park’s Palisades, but on the opposite side of Pan American Plaza.

The Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum, has its own entrance uniquely graced with pre-Columbian style ornamentation. The 1935 California Pacific International Exposition architect Richard Requa, according to this web page, “had conceived an architectural plan for the Palisades showing how the forms of indigenous architecture in the American southwest and in Mexico could be used to produce a distinctive American style of architecture…”

For comparison, here’s an old photo of the Federal Building’s entrance after the closure of its last occupant, the San Diego Hall of Champions…

When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?

And here is the amazing new entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum…

I also learned today that the Palisades’ nearby Municipal Gymnasium, which back in 1935 was the California Pacific International Exposition’s Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, is also to be renovated and made equally amazing!

Stay tuned!

Here are two more pics I took this afternoon of the Automotive Museum..

UPDATE!

Here’s an architectural visualization I received of the California State Building with two flagpoles, and grizzly bears on the roof corners. In front of the building, at the center of a fully enlarged Pan American Plaza, you can see the proposed recreation of the 1935 Firestone Singing Fountains.

This is how the Automotive Museum might appear should plans finally come to fruition (without the palm trees and hanging vines)!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A fence comes down, a city grows.

Early yesterday morning, workers were pulling down the construction site fence that surrounds a brand new building in downtown San Diego. The adjacent 20-story 450 B Tower is adding additional office and retail space in the heart of the city.

While many of us were hunkered down indoors during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continued throughout San Diego. It seems nothing will stop the city from growing.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The new Aztec Stadium begins to take shape!

This afternoon I headed over to a spot west of the SDSU Mission Valley construction site. I was curious to see if San Diego State University’s new Aztec Stadium is taking shape yet.

It is–but the work is still in a very early stage!

I took these photographs from a distance. You can see where some lower level seating in the stadium will be.

If you want to see a rendering of the finished Aztec Stadium, and compare it to the construction so far, click here.

Because I work nearby, I’ll occasionally swing by in the future to check on the stadium’s progress and update my blog with new photos.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Demolition of Navy Broadway Complex resumes.

The demolition of the immense, old Navy Broadway Complex on San Diego’s Embarcadero has resumed!

This morning I happened to notice a good chuck of the large remaining Navy building has vanished!

In 2017 demolition began on an adjacent section of the complex, to make room for the new 17-story U.S. Navy Region Southwest Headquarters, which was completed in September of 2020.

Four years ago I posted photographs of that phase of the demolition, and other construction activity along San Diego’s waterfront, here.

Once the last remnants of the Navy Broadway Complex are finally removed, construction can begin in earnest of the Manchester Pacific Gateway, which will feature a total of six new buildings.

According to the site plan, there will be a 1.9 acre plaza across Harbor Drive from the Broadway Pier and USS Midway Museum, a 34-floor Convention Center hotel with retail on Broadway by Pacific Highway, and office space in the five other, smaller buildings.

If you want to learn more about this project, which has evolved over its many years of planning, click here.

It appears the new bayfront hotel and its outdoor park will be called One Broadway Hotel & Plaza.

UPDATE!

One of my blog’s readers has informed me that I’m not quite up-to-date about this project. An article in the Union Tribune last September relates how “IQHQ real estate investment group…completed its acquisition of around two-thirds — or five city blocks — of the development site known as Manchester Pacific Gateway. The transaction paves the way for what IQHQ is calling the San Diego Research and Development District…”

So it seems the plans for this property have continued to evolve…

ANOTHER UPDATE!

I took more photographs a couple weeks later…

MORE PHOTOS!

And here are a four more pics that I took one morning in early June from Harbor Drive…

…and a couple days later…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing, monumental The Shell nears completion!

Oh my goodness! Look at these photos! I took them today during a walk along San Diego’s waterfront, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

San Diego Symphony’s monumental The Shell is nearing completion and it’s more amazing than I anticipated!

As I understand it, the San Diego’s Symphony’s popular summer concerts will resume this year, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the very first time, Bayside Summer Nights will be held at this permanent outdoor venue.

I spoke to a construction worker and he said the project is indeed nearing completion. I could see that landscaping is now underway, and that most of the structures seem about ready to go.

If you’d like to compare how the project appeared in late 2019, as it was just getting started, you can check out photos I took here. At the time the venue was referred to as Bayside Performance Park.

Today this outdoor stage, the only venue of its kind on the West Coast, whose acoustic quality is said to be as good as any indoor concert hall, and whose white “shell” is made of the same material as the San Diego Convention Center’s iconic sails, is simply called The Shell.

As I walked outside the construction fence peering at The Shell, I could immediately see that this extraordinary landmark will help further distinguish San Diego from every other city in the world, and is destined to become a beloved part of the already beautiful skyline.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!