The 25.5-acre San Diego International Airport Rental Car Center (RCC) serves as a welcoming point of entry for visitors to the San Diego region and an enhancement to the north side of the airport campus. Two distinct “front doors” are located along the north and south sides of the structure. The RCC includes 5,400 cars, 14 car rental companies, and an 8,000 SF restaurant open to the public within the 2 million SF campus. The construction cost was $316 million.
The landscape theme of the RCC is reflective of the identity of San Diego, its unique location and significant natural and man‐made features. The landscape reflects the idea of movement, which is indicative of travel as well as the surrounding natural systems of wind and water, and is recognizable from both the air and ground level. Palm trees accentuate the architecture and represent major paths of travel around and through the site. Plant materials were selected for climate and site appropriateness, drought tolerance and low maintenance, with plant material colors and textures reinforcing the theme of movement, accent and scale. California natives and coastal compatible plants were key to providing a balance of minimizing water use and remaining true to the overall campus master plan and streetscape.
The project was collaboratively designed and built with sustainable strategies to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Water is captured in seven on-site bioswales and filtered through the planting areas in compliance with current regulations to seamlessly integrate the landscape design with the storm water systems and the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. The treatment control BMPs include: infiltration, capture and reuse, biofiltration, and mechanical treatment.
An important goal of the project was to provide pedestrian access to the future Intermodal Transit Center (ITC) by integrating pedestrian linkage into and through the RCC site. This linkage supports the San Diego regional transportation goals of encouraging the use of mass transit, minimizing airport related traffic impacts to adjacent communities and improving intermodal access to the airport and airport facilities. The themed pedestrian and vehicular concrete paving was enhanced with color, special finishes and enhancements, while site furnishings such as picnic tables, benches and a dog relief area are available for visitor and employee use. A palm-lined 1,400-foot long fire lane along Pacific Highway also serves as an attractive pedestrian and streetscape amenity.
Public art, funded by two-percent of eligible construction costs, is a key element of the RCC and is integral to both the interior and exterior design. “MetroGnomes” by Christian Moeller is placed within one of the site bio-swales. It includes two 54-foot tall kinetic sculptures of steel, aluminum and electromagnets that move back and forth. MetroGnomes is inspired by aircraft marshals directing planes to their arrival gate, metronomes, and the site’s location near San Diego Bay. “Dazzle”, by Ueberall International LLC, is scheduled to be installed later in 2016 on the north side of the building along Pacific Highway. It features 2,200 panels of an innovative e-paper material that create a dazzle camouflage, a technology developed by the Navy and widely used on World War I battleships.