Sunday, May 5, 2013

ten reasons why i love the new newport beach civic center

In 2010, Newport Beach finally broke ground for the construction of a new Civic Center and Park. Projected costs were about $110M. Fundraising and planning had been going on for years.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The "cynics and the critics," as Mayor Keith Curry referred to them in his dedication speech on Saturday, May 4,  fought long and hard to prevent this project. As a lover of all things modern and beautiful, I am happy to report, THEY DID NOT WIN.

Newport beach only has about 86,000 people and this structure may seem excessive. But the tax base is rather large due to the proximity of coastline beach communities as well as a large upscale shopping center. Frankly the money is there. And the old City Hall, built in 1948 with a population of about 10,000, had been substantially outgrown, and unable to support the community.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


In a loose order of priority, I will go through my TOP TEN reasons why I passionately love the new Civic Center.

#10 More Free Parking Spots

The library which is on the adjacent property as well as the old Civic Center were completely out of parking. I have circled both lots many times looking for spots. The new Civic Center has a large parking structure with 450 FREE parking spaces as well as spots for electric cars.



The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


#9 The Dog Park

The park space houses the first dog park in Newport Beach and probably the only dog park in Newport Beach due to the price of real estate. The clever planners took an unbuildable bit of land adjacent to the complex, added a bridge over a busy intersection and created a dog park. Yay Fido!

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


#8 The Community Room

The beautiful facility includes a Community Room, with kitchen and theater including a lovely open air patio and all can be rented for reasonable prices. Let the party planning begin!


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Side view of Community Center

#7 Energy Efficiency

The new Civic Center is truly a building for the future. It will be LEED certified Silver or Gold. It has advanced lighting and climate controls where windows and blinds close and open automatically. Big overhangs shelter interior offices from the sun. And, office windows open. Yes they open. In the United States, most office buildings have no opening windows including 100% that I have worked in.

The wave roof design includes structural channels to cool the building. Large windows are built to maximize light.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
A balcony for outdoor meetings

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
There are little windows up top that automatically open for air flow.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Natural light built in all over the place.

#6 Technology

The building is amazingly high tech (but of course). It was impressive to see the server room (yes us geeks got a tour), the traffic control center as well as the command center where city council meetings are filmed every Tuesday.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
We happened upon the I.T. guy touring his family in the server space.
Albert hopped in the cold room and had a bonding moment.
Alex observes in mock interest. 

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Traffic control shows how the lights are timed and controlled centrally (who knew?).


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Media guy who controls the filming and cameras for all the City Council meetings.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
City Council meeting from the viewpoint of members. See the cameras, keyboards etc. Really tricked out.

#5 The Library Expansion

We have loved the Newport Beach Main Library, which opened 1994, from day one. We live less than a mile away and have spent many hours in this fantastic facility. The new Civic Center project also allowed for the Central Library Expansion of 17,000 square feet. This included a large addition to the children's library for reading, playing and relaxing with kids 12-and-under.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013



The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
New children's wing
#4 Color

Visually, the new Civic Center structure is bright, cheerful and modern with its punched up colors. As we walked around we enjoyed the bright yellows, chartreuse greens and vivid blues. So nice. And many times in unexpected places.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013



The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

#3 The Furniture

Oh. The. Furniture. Eames. Scandinavian and Italian. Let me empty the trashcans in this beautifully appointed building. I would die happy.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
This is my favorite office. By far. I loved the blue, yellow and green Eames office furniture.





#2 The Landscaping

The landscaping for the site is stupendous. The parks and entire perimeter landscaping are California natives. The interior courtyard is a nice expanse of grass for events, parties and lounging about. And there are other little groupings of interesting plantings tucked here and there. And a few bizarre bunnies which, frankly, were the only thing that threw me off. Just a little. The landscape architect was PWP Landscape Architecture.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


Below is the "Stonehenge" of rabbits. From the brochure "a different, more passive approach than a tot-lot, the bunnies are meant for families and kids to find, play around, take photos with, etc." Not exactly sure what the "etc." is.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Palm tree garden.

#1 The Architecture

I love the architecture. The building architect was Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is famous for many significant projects, including the design of at least a dozen Apple stores. This building and surrounding grounds certainly will be a significant structure in Southern California. The Civic Center was notably designed for both form and function and to also bring the outdoors in. Every little detail was designed and every little thing is in place. It is difficult to take it all in, but I tried, with a few shots of details that particularly captivated me.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
I love the shape of the Council Chambers. Maybe I'll go watch a few meetings now from time to time.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Viewing platform up top -- you can see the ocean and it gently sways in the wind.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Bridge over a natural gully.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Cool LED path lighting blends in yet is so sculptural.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Loved the industrial feel to the building's interior.


The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Sun baffles everywhere protect East and West facing window expanses.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Could NOT take enough pictures of the roof. 

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
I bet this is the original flagpole from the old City Hall (see early pictures up top in this post).

As a taxpayer in Newport Beach, I am so pleased that our city had the vision and dedication to construct this streamlined, efficient and beautiful Civic Center.

The City of Newport Beach Civic Center and Park May 4 2013
Mayor and other important people who helped get this done.
I think Mayor Keith Curry is the third from the left.

As the major dedication ceremonies commenced on Saturday, May 4, naysayers continued to protest.

Sign overhead from a plane during the ribbon cutting. and an example of  the United States right to free speech which I am grateful for as well. BUT, does anyone else get the irony of having enough money to rent a plane to protest spending too much money? NPB. Always ironic.

If Newport Beach constructed the Taj Mahal for $131 million (the correct figure), as far as I am concerned, they got a bargain. The entire complex was built during a massive construction recession,which means money worked extra hard. Plus the city Fact Sheet doesn't include how many people were fully employed for the past three years constructing the complex.

"How different our city would be if we listened to the cynics and the critics," Mayor Curry said. This citizen of Newport Beach is happy to have such an outstanding example of architecture in our city, and, is very proud.

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12 comments:

  1. That's such a beautiful place! I'm glad the naysayers didn't win. Of course, I'm as puzzled about the bunnies as you are. :)

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    Replies
    1. The bunnies are extremely unexpected which may be the idea. Very playful and childlike. The space is attached to the library which gets a ton of kid-traffic.

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  2. What an impressive building! I like the office with the green and blue furniture too.

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  3. I don't think there's anything here I didn't like. Great building, great landscaping. It's perfect! Can you imagine working there!?!?

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    Replies
    1. I imagined working there as I wandered around. What does surroundings like that do for employee satisfaction? It has to be a plus.

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  4. Need to take my own tour of the library. With this remodel, it just became the best one in Orange County. And, of course, I love the bunnies--there must have been a big donor involved, with a bunny fetish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is an AWESOME library. You have to go visit the children's wing. It is amazing now (always was pretty cool). And there is separate meeting room space, and also lots of new chairs and reading areas. The periodicals room got a new reading nook too. And a cafe up on the second floor, just outside the library entrance. I can go on and on. Best library. Ever.

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    2. P.S. I do need someone to confess the story of the bunnies. There has got to be a tail there. Haha.

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    3. I think this is correct. This was supposed to be a 'passive' park. The residents across the street did not want any active play areas on the site. Therefore no tot lot, swings, etc. These 'rabbits' are an opportunity for families with young children to have some allowable activity. (Bunnies are in the mansion with Hef.)

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  5. https://www.facebook.com/newportbunnybeach/
    For all the hair-raising truth!

    ReplyDelete

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