Location: San Diego, CA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Project Team


Pae White

Pae White Studio


City of San Diego

Tom Marble



As lead artist for the remaking of the San Diego’s waterfront, I chose to address the structures that had been planned for the project. Referencing Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I developed two pavilion roofs, a cafe, an information building, 4 vendor kiosks, and a restroom building. (restroom shown)

When Pae White was chosen as lead artist for the reimagining of the San Diego waterfront, she chose not to simply locate a plop sculpture somewhere on the site. Instead, she took on the three structures in the project, hoping to transform what had been a trio of bland, unremarkable buildings into something more interesting.

Drawing from her memories of family trips to San Diego, she decided to clad the structures with words remembered from books she read on those trips. The text appears on the roofs of the information and cafe pavilions, with certain words pushing through, and also rendered in concrete on the walls of the restroom building. The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan was completed in 2014.


When Pae White was chosen to create artwork for the revamped B Street Pier, she recalled trips to San Diego as a child. She remembered lying in the sun and reading books. Words from those memories now form a sheltering canopy over visitors as they buy tickets for a harbor cruise, browse the gift shop at the Information Center, dine at Carnitas Snack Shack, or people-watch from mini parks studded with jacarandas, the city's official tree. "Birds' Word's" integrates art and architecture through the steel and aluminum canopy, glass panels in the hues of the bay at dawn and dusk, kiosks, and a pleasingly puzzling restroom covered in cryptic letters. While some of White's words can be read from below, others are visible only to passing seagulls and airplanes.



12’ x 20’ x 40’

Additional Information

See also NEVP II