Safe Trestle (San Onofre State Beach, California, USA, Competition)

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It is not difficult to design safe passage over or under the railroad tracks to the beach.  The challenge is how to give meaning to the people who use it. Whether they are surfers, nature lovers, bikers, hikers or sightseers, all should benefit from the design.

Based on our observation of the existing path, it is interesting to find it in a shape of a hook or an inverted question mark.  This shape is very similar to the movement path of surfing. This discovery leads to the idea solution: let people experience the ocean wave through the passage.  Visitors can ride this wave to get the experience of surfing while surfers will no doubt use the passage to visualize their moves on the way to their sessions.

The wave starts as small ripples that flow up morphing from nothing into guardrails, display surfaces for educational signs, drinking fountains, benches, telescope mounting surface, even surf board racks.  At key areas, the wave rises bigger and higher into shower heads, canopies, and roof.

To limit the disturbance of the natural beauty of the site, it is logical to keep the passage elevated over the existing trail and let it gradually descend to the beach.  The path continues as a low elevated walkway over the wetland and connects back to the main passage near the train tracks via stairs.  Vistas toward the wetland and the beach are left open.  The passage culminates on the beachwhere the wave morphs into a roof over the restrooms, lockers, showers and sitting areas.

The wave surface is clad with translucent fiberglass.  The skeleton structure is metal to keep the weight down, minimizing the foundation size and its impact on the ground.  The void within the structure allows utilities to pass through and being protected from the weather.  All internal structure and utilities are painted with phosphorescent paint.  This paint will absorb sunlight through the fiberglass and glow dimly at night like jellyfish in the ocean.  Additional light fixtures can be used to prolong lighting as needed.

The passage design gives people opportunity to experience surfing, the ocean, the wetlands, and educating and accommodating them along the way to the beach.

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