Pearl of the Pacific

San Diego • 1998

The “Pearl of the Pacific” was created in the summer of 1998, when students from Yantai, Tijuana, Vladivostok, and San Diego came together at the tip of San Diego’s Shelter Island to design and construct a gateway park over a period of four weeks. Local community members, volunteer contractors, sub-contractors, artisans and artists graciously assisted the team of international architecture students. 

As a symbol of the connection San Diego has to the Pacific Rim, the park blends the rich artistic traditions of each of the four countries. With its Pearl Fountain, walls that suggest the form of an open Chinese fan, and intricate wrought iron design reminiscent of Russian lace work, the “Pearl of the Pacific” conveys the unique and lasting beauty that can be created when countries join in friendship. 

The park’s tile images represent the four quadrants of the Pacific Rim; the Chinese dragon, an American shore bird, Russian Siberian tiger, and Mexican Quetzalcoatl. This waterfront location has become a popular place for weddings, picnics, and other gatherings. 

Key Organizations

  • Pacific Rim Park
  • San Diego Unified Port District
  • Ilan-Lael Foundation