1 Columbia Place

San Diego, California

LEED Gold high-rise improvement boosts occupancy

1 Columbia Place is a 27-story high-rise in downtown San Diego that received exterior and interior improvements to reposition it for new and existing tenants. Since completion, the owner has experienced a 12-percent occupancy increase and the LEED Gold project is now considered one of the top commercial buildings in the area.

The design reoriented the building lobby to create a more clearly identifiable entrance and improve the street-level experience. At the new entry, a sculptural canopy over a transparent window wall gives the building a stronger presence and offers views into the atrium. New landscaping adds a visual buffer from traffic. Near the main entry, an unsightly exhaust tower was transformed into a beacon of light that uses a supergraphic to put the address on full display.

Pristine white cladding continues from the exterior entry into the multistory lobby, along with LED accent lighting that highlights elevator landings on each level. Common areas were updated throughout all tenant floors, featuring modern materials and colors and high-efficiency building systems. On the second and third floors, outdoor terraces are furnished with shade structures, seating and planters to provide a comfortable atmosphere for impromptu gatherings or events.

Lighting and wayfinding act as a consistent, unifying design element throughout the exterior and interior to guide tenants and visitors through the building. Integrated with sustainable systems and materials and designed on a budget, the project serves as a prime example for how to turn a dated, underperforming property into an active urban landmark.

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