Meeting is June 26 for input on La Jolla park restroom renovation

By Ashley Mackin

Safdie Rabines Architects and the committee behind the Scripps Park Restroom Renovation Project will host a public meeting to gather feedback on its preliminary design concepts and what the new facility would need, 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.

“This is a community project and it’s the people’s park, so we want people to feel they are part of the process to create something that will honor the park’s beauty,” said committee co-chair Judy Adams Halter. “We invite all La Jollans and San Diegans to come because we value their input.”

Often inspired by the beauty of Scripps Park but shocked by the dilapidated state of its restroom near the entrance to the La Jolla Cove that was built in 1967, Adams Halter decided to take on the renovation project in February. Support quickly followed. A 30-person committee formed, and Requests For Qualifications (RFQ) went out to public space architects in April.

A six-person panel reviewed the RFQ responses, and narrowed it down to four firms. Safdie Rabines was chosen. The Mission Hills-based architecture firm also designed the Scripps Seaside Forum and Caroline’s Seaside Café at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

“We are thrilled and honored to participate in the enrichment of a site that is so treasured by the La Jolla community,” the firm said in a statement. “As a place of unparalleled natural beauty and joyous public life, the La Jolla Cove is truly a jewel of the Pacific Coast. We are inspired by the commitment of the community to the preservation of the site and look forward to collaborating on a new vision for the Cove.”

Although the firm released renderings, committee co-chair Patrick Ahern said they are just to “get the conversation started,” and illustrate the firm’s ideas for the project.

“Designers are looking for the community’s guidance,” he said. “This facility needs to work for people, but it also needs to integrate into the park and its naturalness. At the same time, designers are also excited to create a functional work of art.” The project’s public relations coordinator, Maureen Gibbons, said the meeting will be conducted like an open house, so those interested may arrive at any time.

Describing Safdie Rabines’ aesthetic as “subtle” with “a soft touch,” Gibbons said, “When you see how (their preliminary designs) nestle the restroom into the park, you feel like it has always been there,” she said. “The magic that they bring to the project isn’t so much about what you see, but what you feel.”

Adams Halter added, “The goal is to make the restroom pavilion subtle so that it blends in, but is functional, safe and sustainable. We’re trying to be as efficient as possible and deliver a very special facility.”

Once the firm gathers community feedback on their sketches, something more formal will be drafted and presented to community advisory groups.

The project will be privately funded to save time and money, and ensure the community gets what it needs, Adams Halter said.

The group has already received financial contributions from the La Jolla Cove Swim Club and Gibbons said the committee would apply for grants from several organizations.

In September, a fundraising campaign will begin, and the committee hopes to start construction in spring 2015, with completion in early 2016.

For more information on the project, e-mail