California State University Monterey Bay Divarty Mall Design Concept
Monterey County, CA
Divarty Street, a central, multi-use street on the California State University Monterey Bay campus, provides access to buildings and outdoor spaces, but it also divides the campus and introduces vehicles into what could be a prominent, central and public open space for the campus. The planning team worked closely with a campus advisory group and leadership to develop a design concept for Divarty Mall that would be dedicated to pedestrians and bicycles and would create a sense of place at the heart of campus. This central spine touches or is near virtually all key existing destinations as well as proposed future land uses which are anticipated to intensify in the campus core. Divarty Mall would connect all these different uses, create a signature campus space and provide a venue for a multitude of activities throughout the year.
The proposed design for Divarty Mall and its adjacent spaces celebrates the local landscape with indigenous forms and materials while providing signature campus spaces that support student life and movement through campus. The existing Monterey Bay landscape and land forms informed the design and provided inspiration for a larger site design. Undulating forms, reminiscent of the existing dune landscape, create movement within the campus and begin to dismantle the relentless grid previously established by the military. Design concepts explored the possibility of adding additional, usable spaces, especially those that are sunny, protected from the wind, and close to buildings to create comfortable outdoor spaces. In addition, the open spaces along and adjacent to the mall will have a role to play in campus stormwater management, demonstrating the campus commitment to sustainable design practices.
Several existing landscape features and materials featured in the design will enhance and weave the natural landscape through the campus. Mature oak woodlands frame the existing meadow to the south of the mall, and grand Monterey Cypress dot the landscape along Divarty Street. Green spaces become links for pedestrian and bicycles and create a network of larger, public open areas. In some areas, military remnants that are cultural resources have been woven into the design.
A long, sweeping arc forms the central promenade through the heart of the campus core with natural, undulating forms reminiscent of the Monterey dune landscape intersecting the arc. The informal edges of the natural landscape juxtapose the formal alignment of buildings and the regular grid of the street network. The dune landscape permeates the spaces adjacent to the mall and a large swath of natural landscape intersects the arc at its center making an uninterrupted connection between two existing open spaces on campus, the Freshman Quad and the Meadow. The arc form, coupled with the dune landscape, provides an opportunity to create a sense of place for the campus, drawing from the region while offering a landscape form that minimizes the open expanse of the existing landscape. Undulating landforms will reduce the expanse between buildings and create more intimate, protected spaces, while the long arc will connect pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the campus.