Collection of new gathering spaces named for iconic Futuro House of the 1970s
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At the renowned San Diego Design Center, a classic 15,344-square-foot mid-century modern multi-building office campus located at 3605 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, local design leaders are joining forces to reinvigorate the iconic property. Sean Slater and Frank Wolden of architecture, planning and interiors firm RDC, David McCullough of landscape architecture and urban design firm McCullough Landscape Architecture, and the property’s owner Graham Hollis of Blue Sapphire Holdings are collaborating to bring back the original intent of the space as a creative hub for the San Diego arts and design community.
Together, they are launching a set of community gathering spaces dubbed Futuro Space after the iconic UFO-like Futuro House that inhabited the Design Center parking lot in the 1970s. These leaders and their firms are working together to offer and manage Futuro Space as a hub for community meetings, creative collaboration, and other design-focused gatherings.
“The San Diego Design Center is not just a building, but a place where history and creativity meet,” said Sean Slater, AIA, Senior Principal at RDC. “Together with Blue Sapphire Holdings and McCullough, RDC is working to make this special place a community hub for creative discourse.”
Futuro Space is a collection of gathering spaces intended to reinvigorate the spirit of the original intent of the Design Center, opening a collective of community collaboration rooms and event spaces for the community of San Diego and the surrounding area. It is comprised of large and small meeting rooms, patio event space and individual workstations, with plans to add more community resources and engagement tools as time goes on. It opened in late 2023 and has already become the place for dialogue on issues of design and the built environment, both formally and informally. Groups Futuro has hosted include the Urban Land Institute (ULI San Diego-Tijuana), the American Institute of Architects (AIA San Diego), the San Diego Architectural Foundation, and Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3).
“The San Diego Design Center is more than just a place. It is a symbol of San Diego’s artistic and creative history, and a space where minds and ideas thrive. It is a place for productivity, collaboration, and innovation, and a forum where ideas that will shape the future of San Diego,” said Frank Wolden, Urbanist at RDC. “We are excited to welcome creatives to thrive in this space with us.”
Community and arts organizations interested in using the space should contact Dalane Nash, Senior Community Experience Manager for RDC at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit rdcollaborative.com/futurospace.
The Design Center: A Symbol of San Diego’s Artistic and Creative History
“Ruocco’s original intention for The Design Center was for the space to be a hub of creativity and innovation, a space dedicated to new ideas and devoted to pushing the envelope, and improving the city it served. Our intention is to further that mission,” said David McCullough, ASLA, PLA, Principal at McCullough Landscape Architecture.
The Design Center complex, located at 3605 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, was designed by prominent San Diego architect, Lloyd Ruocco, FAIA. Upon completion of construction in 1949, Ruocco moved his architecture studio to the Design Center, along with the studio and showrooms of his wife, interior designer, and professor Ilse Hamann Ruocco. Focusing on the creative community, the couple transformed the space into an incubator for artists, designers, photographers, and architects who were invited by Ruocco to help shape the city’s arts community.
Constructed of primarily redwood and glass, a style reminiscent of many of Ruocco’s early designs, its open floor plans and rectilinear structures are hallmarks of the California Modern style—a style he helped pioneer. The openness of design and extensive use of glass reflects Ruocco’s sensitivity for a built environment’s relationship with the outdoors that became a trademark of some of his most notable designs. Lloyd Ruocco is quoted as saying, “Good architecture should call for the minimum use of materials for the most interesting and functional enclosure of space.”
Ruocco was instrumental in founding several community design organizations, including co-founding Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3), an influential group of thinkers and leaders concerned with urban design that successfully fought a California Department of Transportation plan to widen State Highway 163 where it passes through Balboa Park. Founded in 1961, C-3 continues today as a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of informed citizens in San Diego, answering the question: “How can we make a city that is fit to live in?”
When Blue Sapphire Holdings LLC acquired the Design Center, Graham Hollis and his team restored its facade. The company used the lower level of the property while renting the other floors to design professionals. Hollis commented, “We had a vision to return this space to its original purpose, serving as a center where design and ideas flourish. We are pleased to be taking that idea to the next level with Futuro Space.”
San Diego and Tijuana Named World Design Capital 2024
The Design Center is a symbol of San Diego’s importance in the global design community. Recently the World Design Organization jointly designated the cities of San Diego and Tijuana as World Design Capital 2024 for their commitment to human-centered design and shared legacies of cross-border collaboration. Futuro Space is currently working with World Design Capital San Diego-Tijuana to discuss strategies for the World Design Capital 2024 celebration events.
“The recent selection of San Diego as the World Design Capital adds an additional layer of importance to the activities at the Design Center and the launch of Futuro Space,” Slater said. “We are excited to be part of this conversation and provide an inspiring place for collaborative thinking, and look forward to being a part of San Diego’s creative future.”
Founded in 1979, RDC is a full-service, award-winning architecture firm dedicated to making everyday places extraordinary. Practice areas include placemaking, retail, store planning, entertainment, hospitality, office, residential, interiors, branding, and procurement. Headquartered in Long Beach, CA, the firm has 180 staff members and offices located in Washington, DC, Rogers, AR, and San Diego, CA. For more information, visit: www.rdcollaborative.com.
About McCullough Landscape Architecture, Inc.
Founded in 1999, McCullough Landscape Architecture, Inc., is an award-winning landscape architecture, environmental planning, and urban design firm with offices located in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Oakland, CA. Now celebrating 25 years, the company has earned regional and national recognition for its many private development, civic, and commercial projects – including retail, mixed-use, and entertainment facility master plans. McCullough is proud to be certified by the State of California Department of General Services as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), and certified by the City of San Diego as a Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE). For more information about McCullough, visit www.McCulloughLA.com.
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