As a densely populated beach town, the architectural designs of Pacific Beach vary from tightly-packed 30s-style beachfront cottages to large, pricey hotels and condos built with natural, earthy materials. Aside from the quaint residential areas that run adjacent to popular businesses and busy streets, Pacific Beach holds an architectural report card that runs from San Diego’s budding first moments to today’s most modern fancies.
Primarily consisting of small studio- to four bedroom-sized apartments, the Pacific Beach residential neighborhoods offer older, well-established architecture that was built between 1940 and 1969. The newer, trendier architecture often found closer to the shore can be attributed to the 1970 through 1994 date range.
Standing at 1111 Pacific Beach Drive, one of the most distinguishing architectural structures erected in Pacific Beach owes its existence to America’s oldest women’s rowing club. The Zlac Rowing Clubhouse was originally designed by architect Lilian J. Rice, one of the first women to earn a degree in architecture from the University of California Berkeley in 1910.
The work of architect John Mock is visible throughout Pacific Beach in the many apartment complexes built during his time. Mock is responsible for architectural apartment outcroppings, and was recognized during his time for his omni-directional architecture that incorporated form, function and economy.
Tower 23 is another shining star of Pacific Beach Architecture. This hotel is a stylish, contemporary, and luxurious urban building that brings in the natural elements around it with glass-boxed architecture. Designer and architect Graham Downes built this hotel and restaurant to bring in the tropical surroundings and play up the beauty of the natural atmosphere. Another tropical architectural gem is The Catamaran Hotel, which incorporates strong colonial Hawaiian architecture and tropical design that is carried throughout the hotel.
Pacific Beach is also home to new styles of architecture. Many of the most recently built residences are multi-million dollar houses with spiral staircases, infinity pools, and theater rooms that show off the latest in ultramodern styles.
From practical apartment complexes to luxurious hotels with tropical themes, Pacific Beach architecture and home design provides an interesting reflection on the area’s history and growth.