How do you renovate a Cape Cod-style building into a modern marine coast aesthetic?
Located at Mariner’s Mile in Newport Beach, 3101 West Coast Highway is a renovation and adaptive reuse of a cramped 4-story Cape Cod-style building from the 1980’s into a modern articulation of the marine coastal aesthetic. Situated on a concrete podium 6’ above West Coast Highway, this project creates a modern aesthetic by removing existing embellishments to enhance the clean and timeless geometry of the gabbled roofs, all the while staying within compliance with the Coastal Commission’s strict reframing constraints.
In order to provide tenants with fresh air, natural light, and unobstructed bayside views, individual dormers were demolished to create inset terraces. Floor slabs were removed to create double-height spaces, existing window openings were made full height, and prominent street and bayside gables walls were opened up with floor-to-ceiling curtain walls creating transparency from street to bayside.
On the podium level, the existing boat storage has been converted into a plaza with planters and custom teak furniture, while outdoor patios off the east façade were introduced to enhance the ambiguity between interior/exterior conditions.
The building’s juxtaposition of transparent and opaque surfaces creates tonal shifts and spatial depth throughout the façade. As the sun rises, standing seam metal panels glow with metallic luster while interspersed high-performance glazing reflects the sunset’s gradations. This sense of transparency is further enhanced by the cable rails installed by local sailors, which provide physical safety without compromising the bay vistas.
Local marine elements are also reflected throughout the project. Built by a local boat builder from marine-grade ply covered in resin, the main entry canopy is reminiscent of an inverted boat hull, while the wooden trellis and canvas materials draw inspiration from nautical masts and booms.
Russell Shubin, AIA, LEED AP
Christiane Dussa, LEED AP
Fotoworks / Benny Chan