Platt/Whitelaw Architects’ Park Design Experience Expands to Include Torrey Highlands Park.
Dogs throughout the Del Mar and Carmel Valley area are rejoicing at the reopening of Torrey Highlands Park…and maybe their owners, too.
This popular dog (and people) park has been closed intermittently for the last year or so for a minor makeover. Platt/Whitelaw Architects was lucky enough to work with the City of San Diego to bring the 1989 park up to today’s standards.
Now our canine friends and their humans can find some reprieve under a newly installed shade shelter with attached benches (from Poligon). A new, half-acre parking lot offers additional capacity so even more dogs (and their humans) can enjoy the park. And a new walkway makes it easy for dogs to dash as quickly as possible from the car to the park (sorry, humans).
It wasn’t just dogs (and their humans) we had to think about, though. This area is home to the California gnatcatcher, an endangered species of bird. We had to engage an ecologist to investigate the park and make sure no California gnatcatchers had built their nests nearby.
Whether it was a dog deterrent factor or just finicky birds, the gnatcatchers didn’t think the park measured up for home construction that year, so we were clear to make modifications.
Much of the design plan involved upgrades to comply with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. This included knocking out and rebuilding one wall of the restroom structure to provide adequate turning radius for mobility devices.
Along the way, nature’s challenges continued to pop up, as 2023 proved a remarkably wet year. While the contractor, Ramona Paving, was already working with our civil engineering partner, Kimley Horn, to try to avoid paving over an elusive underground gas line, they had to do so between rain delays.
The very beginning of the project was delayed, too. This time, due to a virus. Just before we were ready to submit architectural plans to the city for approval, COVID-19 shut down everything, including the plan approval process.
While the city would roll out an efficient online review system partway through the pandemic, it wasn’t up yet, so we worked with our wonderful project manager Yovanna Lewis to submit through email.
We appreciated working with a team well versed in park design and construction that took challenges in stride. This included our own Yolanda Velazco.
We’re pleased to announce that Torrey Highlands Park opened in mid-September and is, once again, crowded with dogs (and their humans).