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Why We (Will) Love Our Skyline

Local architect Joseph Martinez has helped define the San Diego skyline—but we have a long way to go



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“How many cities have cruise ships at their front door?” waxes local architect Joseph Martinez. He designed the recognizable Manchester Grand Hyatt and the newsworthy Ten Fifty B, “the tallest and greenest” affordable housing structure on the West Coast.

Martinez has helped define our skyline—but we have a long way to go.

“Cities evolve over time. You won’t get a city built in fifty years. If it builds that quickly, it’s called Disneyland. Boston took 300 years to build; Chicago, maybe 250. San Diego is about 100. We’re young adults.”

Martinez believes we lack unique buildings. “Ours kinda have the same look. There are sites and locations that demand a unique building. If you stand on Broadway, you need something to the west, something to the east, so we have a sense of orientation. They are anchors; they you fill in. Pacific Gate will be an important anchor. ‘Where’s the harbor? Walk toward the elliptical building.’ Then you get a city that’s readable.”

And a unique skyline to boot.

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