2013 Awards

Design: Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space

Award of Excellence

El Dorado Beach at Lakeview Commons
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA)
Principal in Charge: Manuela King
Associate/Lead Designer: Jordan Zlotoff
Senior Associate/Project Manager: Jimmy Chan
Senior Associate/Planting Design: Brett Long
Client: City of South Lake Tahoe

Viewed from the lake the project blends subtly into the surrounding landscape and gets plenty of use even during the winter.
In addition to being well-used on a day-to-day basis, the project has become a magnet for local events and water sport competitions, including a weekly concert series during the summer.
The lower level of the building opens out to the boat-ramp and houses a non-motorized boat storage area for local community members, as well as an office and storage space for a non-motorized boat rental operator.
The area around the building features a community fire pit, seat-walls, and a large group BBQ grill with an integrated concrete countertop (behind the stone wall in the foreground).  The upper level of the building houses public restrooms and a local concessionaire.
The stone for the project was all sourced from a nearby quarry and hand-worked by local craftsmen.
The combination of the gently curving stone terraces, walkway, and rip-rap embankments combine to create a strong sculptural form, which is subdued by the subtlety of the contextual materials.
A gently sloping ADA accessible walkway is integrated into the stone terraces to provide easy access to the beach and lower boat-ramp area beyond. The upper story of the boathouse/concession building can be seen in the background.
Stone terraces create a strong connection from the upper plaza to the beach below and provide a plethora of informal seating and sunning opportunities.
A pre-existing grove of Jeffrey Pine trees is preserved and enhanced with strategically designed stone walls and predominantly native understory plantings to become a sculptural element breaking up the plaza into pathways and spaces of varying scales.
The upper plaza provides numerous gathering opportunities for groups of various sizes, with picnic tables and BBQ pits. It has already become a focal point for visitors and locals alike as a place to take in the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
Site Plan and Typical Cross Section. Various stormwater infiltration strategies are used throughout the project in order to minimize run-off to the lake.
Design Context and Project Location. The El Dorado Beach project is the first phase of implementation of the larger Lakeview Commons vision plan.

The El Dorado Beach project is the first phase of implementation of a grand vision for a new civic and recreational center for the City of South Lake Tahoe.  Prominently located on the Lake, the site is the heart of the City reconnecting the community to the Lake.  As the prime consultant, the firm led a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team to engage the community over a year-long collaborative process to design a special place that weaves together an array of design objectives and sustainably re-interprets local design vernacular to create a spectacular recreational community gathering space. The resulting design of stone terraces, a plaza, beach access, and multi-use boathouse, navigates the intense environmental requirements, while fulfilling the fundamental needs expressed at multitudes of community workshops. The project is certified LEED Gold, and represents a model for the local community’s vision to develop a sustainable and vibrant environment and economy.