The Cultural Terrace will combine the adaptive reuse of two 140,000 square foot hangars and a 40,000 square foot warehouse, with a dynamic overhaul of the surrounding landscape. Image © Artefact Agency.
A diverse consortium of architects has been announced for a massive new development called Cultural Terrace on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California, led by IBI Group and MVRDV.
The companies will be joined by landscape architects Agency Artifact and local women-led studio MAAM, with engineers from Buro Happold and Ryder Levett Bucknall in an advisory role.
The 4,682-acre base was once home to Major League Baseball great Ted Williams, who was a Marine Corps Airman from 1943 until the end of the Korean War. The government deactivated El Toro in 1999, and it has since been converted into a popular TV and movie venue, as well as a nascent public park, which the new development hopes to reinvigorate.
The exact uses for the cultural terrace are still being determined, but the large park’s 110-acre plot could evolve over time to accommodate a museum, library and event spaces, a (possible) Indigenous history center or even city offices and other Orange County entities. Two large existing hangars and another 40,000 square foot warehouse will form the centerpiece of the adaptive reuse program. An undefined series of workshops will also feature prominently in the program which will help improve the wider community.
The team is also optimistic that the renovation project will spawn a new hub of innovation for the many technical and creative businesses in the greater Irvine area in a way that “applies the ingenuity and aspirations of engineers and airmen who have worked from this foundation towards a whole new set of cultural opportunities.
The plan comes after years of local back-and-forth over the future of the former military base. Chris Torres of Artifact noted the site’s “significant history in Orange County” and said it is now “ready to be transformed into a vibrant public space for Irvine in the 21st century”. No construction schedule was available at press time. Archinect will have more development updates once they become available.