Advancing the Education of Young Architecture Graduates through Foreign Travel-Study

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Cavin Family Traveling Fellowship Competition 2016

UCLA Marina Aquatic Center and UCLA Rowing Boathouse

14001 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, California

“There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain.”

“The road to hell has six lanes.”

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Entrants are to propose a building or complex of buildings that will house both UCLA Rowing Team’s new boathouse and its slipways and a new home for UCLA’s Marina Aquatic Center on its current 18,500 square ft. site at the base of the jetty that separates Marina Del Rey and Ballona Creek. The goal of this proposal is to create a more suitable home for UCLA’s athletes and to create a higher profile for UCLA rowing and its recreational water sports programs. The project will expand the current facilities by nearly doubling the size of the current facility from 5,500 sqft. to 11,100 sqft.

The new UCLA Marina Aquatic Center (MAC) and Boathouse will accommodate both recreational users (kayaking, rowing, sailing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding and windsurfing classes) as well as all of the equipment and space for UCLA’s division 1 men’s and women’s rowing teams. The position of the site, surrounded on two sides by water, also offers unique opportunities to host events and community gatherings both for the UCLA community as well as for the public. The Marina Aquatic Center is currently accessible by bus, by bike, on foot and by car. On site parking will be a consideration in the design but most people visiting or using the site will be arriving by bus, bike, or on foot.

The site offers a unique confluence of activities and views, for athletes, boat watchers, cyclists, fishermen, bird watchers and nature lovers. It is bisected by Los Angeles County’s Marvin Braude Bike Trail which extends from Torrance in the far south west to Venice, northwest of the site, and Culver City to the East. It is a major path of travel for a diverse population of cyclists (commuters, professionals, and recreational), pedestrians, and sometimes automobiles. The mix of people using the space are all moving at different speeds which can sometimes lead to accidents or near accidents as people riding bikes, roller skating, skateboarding, or walking to or away from the beach compete for space to move. The situation is made more complicated by the activity of UCLA’s rowing teams. Both Men’s and Women’s teams prepare their racing “shells” in their current 5,500 sqft. Boathouse located in the center of the site. When they are ready to begin their on-the-water training or launch their boats for competitions, they must move their nearly 60 foot long racing shells across a driveway, the adjacent bike path, a pedestrian walkway and down a slipway to access the Ballona Creek, where a majority of their training takes place.

Additionally the jetty that the bike path sits on is the prime viewing area for sailing, rowing, and other boat related events on both of its sides. It is also the primary access to the beach from the southern side of Marina del Rey, which is less than one mile away from the site and to the west.

Across the creek and behind the neighboring Villa Ventetia housing complex that borders the site to the east, the preserved open space called the Ballona Wetlands surrounds the site. To quote the Friends of Ballona Wetlands website:

Habitats at Ballona are a complex mosaic resulting from many years of floodplain alteration and filling of the historical wetlands, yet many native species and communities still thrive.  As mapped by the Coastal Conservancy today, habitats at Ballona are defined mainly by hydrology, i.e. whether the habitat is estuarine, freshwater, seasonally flooded, riparian, or upland.  Many wildlife species, especially birds, utilize more than one habitat type – thus the juxtaposition of these habitats next to one another is important for biodiversity.

The housing complexes of Marina del Rey, the wetlands, both fresh and salt bodies of water and the jetty that separates them, the bike path, and the unique climate of southern California make this site a contested area to a diverse array of stakeholders and offers a unique opportunity for challenging architectural and landscape responses.

Entrants for this competition must specifically address in their proposals the following:

UCLA MAC (4,700 sqft.)

UCLA Rowing Boathouse (6,400 sqft.)

Site Constraints: