Fantastic architecture at Oceanside Civic Center.

Uniquely beautiful civic centers can be found all around San Diego County. I’ve photographed many of them. But the Oceanside Civic Center might be my favorite.

I walked randomly about the Oceanside Civic Center complex last weekend and was amazed by everything I saw.

As you can see from various plaques I photographed, the original Oceanside Fire Station (also called Oceanside Engine House and Police Station) was built in 1929/1930, and the original City Hall and Library were completed in 1934. They were designed by Irving Gill, a renowned San Diego architect who is now a recognized major figure in the modern movement. His welcoming simplicity, unadorned classic lines and graceful arches have appeared in various places on my blog. His style has been described as cubist. You can see that signature style in these photographs as well. Designing buildings for the City of Oceanside was the final monumental project of his career.

As you can see on another plaque, a City Hall renovation was completed in 1957, and as you can read in this article, a large new Oceanside Civic Center and Public Library were completed in 1990. The large complex “designed by Charles Moore emulated the styling of Irving Gill (with) the white arches and simple architecture…Moore remarked about Gill’s legacy: “We use his plain white walls, his unadorned concrete arcades, disciplined fenestration and flat roofs as our architectural vocabulary, and then allow ourselves the exuberance of bright colors with tiles in niches at the entrances, in the jambs and soffits of deep set openings, and through the contrast of palms and broad-leafed plants surrounding our structure.”

The Oceanside Museum of Art, with its exquisite 1972 Opus sculpture by James Hubbell situated near the entrance, is another beautiful part of the large civic center complex. It occupies the original City Hall.

In the same article, you can read that “After renovation of the interior of building, the Museum of Art opened to the public on October 6, 1997. In 2008, a new addition to the Oceanside Museum of Art was dedicated in 2008. The contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot addition designed by architect Fredrick Fisher sits alongside the historic building designed by architect Irving Gill, who redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California.”

Should you ever visit Oceanside, California, look for the big colorful fountain at the corner of North Coast Highway and Pier View Way. Then take a stroll through one of the most fantastic civic centers you’re likely to ever see!

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The unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

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The colorful new Cesar Chavez Park Mural.

During my walk last weekend through Cesar Chavez Park, I was delighted to see a bright new mural painted on the long wall behind the park’s expanse of grass.

When I approached the mural, I noticed it was painted by Pandr Design Co. In my previous blog post you saw another mural that these artists recently painted! That one is on Market Street in downtown San Diego!

This new Cesar Chavez Park Mural was commissioned by the Port of San Diego. According to a nearby sign, this artwork brings color and inspiration to the park, creates a sense of place, and enhances the cultural richness of the Port’s waterfront.

It does!

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!

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Photos from under the historic Cabrillo Bridge.

Few people admire Balboa Park’s historic Cabrillo Bridge from below–unless it’s a brief glimpse as they drive into or out of downtown San Diego along State Route 163.

Today I followed a dirt trail from Balboa Park’s West Mesa down to the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. I started at Nate’s Point Dog Park, descended quickly and soon found myself walking under the 40 feet wide, 120 feet high, 1,505 feet long marvel of engineering. (The dramatic main span is 450 feet.)

The very beautiful Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon, was finished in 1914 in time for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The multiple-arched cantilever structure was the first bridge of its kind in California. According to Wikipedia: “An initial design for the bridge was developed by Bertram Goodhue that featured three large arches. The design was to be similar to Toledo, Spain’s Alcántara Bridge. However, Frank P. Allen, Jr. convinced Balboa Park commissioners to choose a cheaper design by Thomas B. Hunter of San Francisco that looked similar to other bridges in Mexico and Spain.”

The Cabrillo Bridge with its seven arches is made of reinforced concrete. 7,700 cubic yards of it! Inside the bridge there is 4,050 tons of steel. You might notice how the bridge’s graceful design resembles a Roman aqueduct. It has a simple, classic appearance that is both iconic and pleasing to the eye.

In 1975 the Cabrillo Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986 it was designated a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In a couple of my early photos, which I took periodically as I walked down the trail, you can see Balboa Park’s distinctive California Tower rising just beyond the east end of the bridge.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

The art and color of Kimono: A Living History.

A week ago, when I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, I stepped into the Inamori Pavilion. There I found an exhibit, titled Kimono: A Living History, that features exquisite kimonos that are truly works of art.

By looking at the many displays and reading signs, I learned about this traditional Japanese clothing, which is often worn during special occasions, including weddings and tea ceremonies. I learned a little about the history of the kimono, from the ancient Yayoi period all the way to modern times, and how each kimono is made and worn. I learned that a formal kimono will include a family crest, which is a stylized motif within a circle.

What impressed me most was the beauty of the kimonos themselves. Their colors often reflect the season, and the designs can be simple or elaborate, but always very pleasing to the eye. Each appears like a painted canvas. To wear a kimono is to wear a work of art.

Here’s just a little of what I saw…

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Patterned tile benches outside Santa Fe Depot.

Some very unique benches are arranged around the perimeter of the outdoor courtyard at downtown’s Santa Fe Depot. The courtyard, featuring a fountain near its center, is located directly south of the large passenger waiting room.

These tile benches present an eye-pleasing variety of colorful patterns. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice their symmetric patterns are derived from the “cross” of the Santa Fe Railway logo, which consists of a cross inside a circle.

During an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that I took a couple years ago, I learned these benches were installed in the 1980’s. I learned quite a lot during that special tour! If you want to read more about the historic train station, and about the original forecourt that existed a hundred years ago, long before these outdoor benches appeared, you can find images and descriptions from that architectural tour here.

For an example of the Santa Fe railroad’s logo, check out the next photo from that tour. It was taken inside the enormous and truly amazing passenger waiting room.

Now on to the outdoor benches…

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Geometric patterns in a city.

Walking through a city is like navigating through a sea of geometric patterns!

On all sides: circles, lines, triangles, squares, rectangles!

Look up, look down. See the grates, ironwork, bricks, manhole covers. See the windows and reflections. You’ll find yourself surrounded by architecture designed mathematically.

Some of the patterns are simple. Others are complex.

When you walk through a city, what shapes and patterns do you see?

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 life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

Wow!

Did you step inside the Comic-Con Museum during 2019 December Nights? If you did, you saw an exhibit that was absolutely amazing!

Young artists Connor and Bauer Lee have created fantastic life-size cardboard sculptures of popular Marvel and DC superheroes, plus various Pixar and Star Wars movie characters!

I believe I recognized: Groot, Black Manta holding a mace, a tiny X-wing starfighter, Wall-E, a gigantic Hulkbuster armor (under construction), Thor’s Stormbreaker hammer, Iron Man, C-3PO, R2-D2, Baby Groot, Wonder Woman, plus other fantastic creations including several superhero masks.

The two brothers have been building these cardboard models for many years. I spoke to Connor briefly and he explained that they select an image of a popular character, blow it up, then begin to craft the sculpture based on that initial design. I asked how long it might take to finish the enormous, extremely complex Hulkbuster armor sculpture you see in my photos, and he said about a year.

According to the Cardboard Superheroes website: We hold free workshops for kids in an effort to promote the arts for youth as we’ve see funding for the arts being cut in school and are working to provide an alternative that is free and fun for kids.

That’s definitely a super cool and inspirational project! I’m sure young students everywhere would love to be creative and make their favorite characters with simple cardboard!

I hope local schools take advantage of what appears to be an awesome opportunity. For more info, you can contact Cardboard Superheroes at their website 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!

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!

Light, water and beauty at Escondido City Hall.

Escondido City Hall was built in 1988. Its design remains remarkable today. Walk around the stately but welcoming building, and you’ll be greeted by light, water and beauty.

I enjoyed a look at City Hall’s award-winning architecture during my visit to Escondido last weekend. In the past I’ve been able to venture inside, and I can tell you the functional interior is just as spacious and friendly.

You can learn more about the history of the Escondido Civic Center here.

My photos include the large fountain by Grape Day Park and the fantastic open dome at the building’s 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!

Photos beneath I-805 bridge in Mission Valley.

Yesterday morning I jumped off the Green Line trolley at the Rio Vista station. I walked east over Qualcomm Way via the pedestrian bridge then continued down the little-used walkway that runs parallel to the trolley tracks.

I had never gone that way before.

The concrete walkway leads behind the Marriott Mission Valley and several large, gleaming office buildings and finally terminates by a parking lot directly beneath the very impressive I-805 freeway bridge.

I turned my camera upward and snapped photos beneath the tall landmark bridge!

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!