Highway House

Design Team: Michael Frederick | Advisors: Olivier Touraine

Santa Monica, California: 2009
For many the trajectory of the Pacific Coast Highway has always been an unsettling experience because at the base of Santa Monica the highway severs all but the smallest connection between the coast, the beach, and the city. In an attempt to reintegrate the beach with the city this project proposes capping the highway, phase by phase, from the pier all the way north to the Palisades. Ideally a partnership between the State, the city and private developers all parties would find there common interest. The cap would shelter a linear parking structure directly accessible from both sides with spaces reserved for residents and users. Consolidating all the existing parking structures would optimize a more fluid traffic during peak times. With cars redirected the large surfaces of asphalt directly on the beach could be developed for ocean front housing or restituted to the landscape. Regular pedestrian paths running West to East would reconnect the beach with the city. The cap will provide a base for new apartments atop it offering fantastic views toward the ocean. The roof of these new units will be planted offering a continuity of green space stepping all the way down to the ocean. A more comfortable density is created with a better connection and less acoustic and visual disturbances. The project emphasizes its sustainability producing electricity from a regular pattern of wind turbines installed on the planted roofs.