Del Mar Station Transit Village

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Location: Pasadena, CA, USA. downtown Pasadena, close to dense neighborhoods

The Del Mar Station Transit Village provides a complex civic plaza for those who live and work in this area of Pasadena. It also encourages visitors from the entire region to board the local light-rail and visit the historic downtown. A bridge over the rail right-of-way forms a physical gateway to those arriving by train. The tower at one corner of the project greets those arriving by automobile. The transit village celebrates the region's historic railroad past, incarnated in the restored station.

This project occupies one of the most significant areas within the city: across the street from an Olmstead-designed park, one-quarter mile from the city's historic downtown, immediately adjacent to a new light-rail line, and at the terminus of one of the region's high traffic freeways. The 3.4-acre site is flanked by three streets including the main vehicular entry into the city, whose streetscape will be concurrently restored. An adjacent street to downtown is smaller, well-traveled, and pedestrian-oriented. To the north is a large parcel of land slated for extensive mixed-use development. The site is bisected by the north-south light-rail line.

Immediately west of the rail line is a Spanish Revival-style train depot that is being restored and converted for retail use. The design protects the small building by limiting the adjacent massing to two stories. Housing and retail skirt three sides of the plaza, the station completing the fourth side. The rail right-of-way is designed as a street with public sidewalks, plantings, lighting, and buildings.

The project provides two subterranean parking garages capable of accommodating 1,200 automobiles. Automobiles access parking at mid-block to discourage congestion at intersections. A vertical circulation core for transit users is located within each parking structure, and pedestrian egress from the parking levels flows directly into the lobbies of buildings.

In order to achieve a project density of 100 units per acre without overwhelming the depot, most housing is located in seven-story buildings at the center of the site and an adjacent corner. This facilitates lower massing on street fronts and adjacent to the depot. A small piazza adjacent to the depot eases the transition to the four-story massing to the north. The seven-story building facing the public plaza steps down to permit natural daylight to reach the paseo and plaza.

Four residential buildings feature private courtyards. Housing typologies include liners to conceal at-grade parking structures, stacked flats, traditional courtyard housing, townhouses, and walk-up lofts. The architecture recognizes the particular character of individual buildings by reducing them into distinct historic styles: industrial loft, modern commercial, Mediterranean revival, craftsman, and moderne residential.

This project is designed on the premise that a diverse mix of both inhabitants and uses will generate a significant urban place. The project incorporates a variety of buildings designed to accommodate a multitude of uses. The variety of unit sizes and vertical unit stratification stimulate a range of prices (larger units on higher floors with prime views fetch higher prices than units on lower floors). In addition, a percentage of the units - dispersed throughout the project - have been reserved for lower income individuals and families. A day care facility is included among the ground floor commercial uses.

Del Mar’s design strives to complement and connect with the surrounding dense residential neighborhoods. Streetscape improvements on surrounding streets will encourage residents of these neighborhoods to walk to the station. Careful coordination with the local bus agencies has insured that local bus lines stop at the park across the street from the site. A bicycle storage room has been designated specifically for the public's use.

Read more at this project's website.

Transect Zone(s): T4 general, T5 center, T6 core.
Status: Complete
Project or Plan's Scale: Building
Features: Affordable/subsidized housing, Bus transit, Civic buildings & parks, Live/work, Mixed uses, Rail/fixed guideway transit, Transit oriented development.
Land area (in acres): 4
Project team designers: Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists
Project team developers: Rosenfeld, Daniel Urban Partners