Tijuana Estuary Visitor’s Center

Submitted by LESLIE Ryan

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Client: CA State Parks

Location: Imperial Beach, CA, United States

Completion date: 2008

Overview

The 1990 design objective was to expand the ecology of the Tijuana Estuary reserve by bringing the wetland/upland plants up around the new Visitor’s Center. By the time we returned in 2007 to build an addition to the Center, the landscape we planted had been declared "Environmentally Sensitive Habitat" which could not be disturbed. The site was officially the habitat we intended.

Goals

Artist Robin Brailsford created a map of the Tijuana River watershed that located the project within the larger landscape. This was a critical part of the project, as 75% of the water in the wetland viewed from the Visitor's Center originates in Mexico, an important fact in understanding our place in this border land watershed.

Process

The collaboration was first a philosophical one. We each began with a desire to respect the existing landscape and to pay attention to the stories embedded in the land.