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San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Parking Plaza Wins 2019 IPMI Award of Excellence

Original Source:  "Parking & Mobility Magazine: Excellent Choice: The Winners of this year's IPMI Awards of Excellence competition" by Melanie Padgett Powers

"Blending Art with Parking. Prioritizing Sustainability with parking. Improving neighborhoods with parking. These lofty goals make parking structures important aspects of communities around the world. Winners in this year's Awards of Excellence competition embrace these goals and more, striving to improve cities and neighborhoods through parking."

- Melanie Padgett Powers, Parking & Mobility Magazine

Image of San Diego Airport Terminal 2 Parking Plaza Wins 2019 IPMI Award of Excellence Photo by Tom Paiva

Best Design of a Parking Facility - San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 Parking Plaza

The current demand for convenient parking at the San Diego International Airport was not being met, and demand is expected to grow. With a small footprint of 661 acres, structured parking was necessary to meet the Airport’s parking needs. However, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority wasn’t interested in a mere box to park cars in. They envisioned a new “front door” to Terminal 2 that would provide a premier passenger experience.

To deliver on this vision, emphasis was placed on customer-focused design and state-of-the-art technology to provide a more efficient, relaxing experience for departing and returning travelers. The resulting Parking Plaza provides 2,907 parking stalls and is infused with a high-level experience that begins before travelers even leave home.

Cutting edge parking technology provides drivers with a means to secure parking reservations in advance and streamline their experience upon arrival. A license plate recognition system that expedites egress, flexible payment options and a high level parking guidance system makes arriving and departing the structure smooth and efficient.

The Airport did not want any exposed conduit in the facility, which proved to be a great challenge given the amount of devices and equipment desired. For over four months in the early stages of design, the Design Build team collaborated with electrical subcontractors to identify all of the conduit routing and design solutions that would conceal it in columns, beams, and most critically, the concrete decks.

Beyond delivering a user-friendly experience, the Parking Plaza celebrates San Diego by creating a welcoming atmosphere for travelers. An overlook on the top level provides amazing harbor and downtown views. Three lightwells placed throughout the infuse the structure with light and offer public art canopies, seating and aesthetic touches that encourage travelers to relax and enjoy the journey.

Passengers exiting Terminal 2 are greeted by three massive, brightly colored public art installations on the exterior of the Parking Plaza’s three main stair towers. Each installation consists of stainless steel aircraft cables strung with hundreds of resin airplanes. Each screen features a different style plane to celebrate San Diego’s commitment to the aviation industry. To connect even deeper to the Airport’s origins as Lindbergh Field, one plane is a model of San Diego’s own Spirit of St. Louis. Each installation features a unique color to act as a wayfinding element for passengers.

Best Design of a Parking Facility

Owner: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Architect, Structural Engineer & Parking Planner: Watry Design, Inc. 

Design Builder: Swinerton

Design Architect: Gensler

Civil Engineer: Michael Baker International 

Landscape Architect: Spurlock 

Total Cost: $97.8 million