skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

What Do You Think Of Proposed Wings For Navy Pier?

Above: A conceptual rendering of the proposed Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

What do you think of the "Wings of Freedom" sculpture proposed for Navy Pier? We want to hear from you!

The port commission is considering a proposed waterfront park at Navy Pier that will include two massive (skyscraper-sized) sculptures perched at water's edge. Scaling 500 ft., the wing-like sculpture was designed by former San Diegan (he moved three years ago) and modernist sculptor Malcolm Leland.

Based on location and design, the "Wings" could become an iconic work for San Diego, becoming a focal point for skyline photographs, waterfront strolls, and sailors gazing back towards shore.

A U-T article by Roger Showley lays out the background of the proposed park and sculpture. A series of public meetings begin at the end of November where San Diegans can voice their opinions. But you can also voice them here!

Do you like the winged sculpture? Is this the best way to visually represent San Diego?

Stay tuned as I follow-up with a profile on sculptor Malcolm Leland. You can find his work all over San Diego and Los Angeles, including in two current exhibits: the Mingei International's "Craft Revolution" exhibit and LACMA's "California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way."

The Midway Museum (developers of the proposed park and sculpture) will hold three public meetings on the Navy Pier plan, all at the port's headquarters, 3165 Pacific Highway: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 9 a.m. Dec. 10.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'heteromeles'

heteromeles | November 9, 2011 at 2:04 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

There are many iconic waterfront structures. The Saint Louis Arch, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty...

Thing is, people can get INSIDE all of them. They do things in and around them.

If these really are massive statues, they're far less useful than they could be. Why not make a sail-shaped building? Do something with the site. Leave the big useless sculptures for some place with more money and fewer needs.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'bobmatheny'

bobmatheny | November 9, 2011 at 2:51 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

they could be propellors (charles lindbergh )

they could be sails.

but they should be kinetic.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | November 9, 2011 at 3:25 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

Like one UT reader noted, wings of freedom sounds and looks like a feminine hygeine product. Another reader said it looks more like giant bunny ears than wings, yet another said it looks like a giant automobile hood ornament. The whole sculpture idea was dreamed to camoflage an attempt to block bay views with a two story tall parking garage covering the entire pier, and with our local media, it looks like that strategy may be working. Where is a rendering of what this would look like if you were standing on Harbor Drive looking west?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 9, 2011 at 4:11 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

If anyone is interested in seeing an alternate rendering to the "wings" you can view one at this blog about development in downtown SD:

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'herberg'

herberg | November 9, 2011 at 6:32 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

This is a very important idea and location, therefore I think that there should be more and varied ideas submitted so as to discover one that is optimum. Choosing up or down on just one idea is a poor process. Open it up!

A rainbow form from the end of one pier to the end of another is an example. (No view blocking) But there are many many more possible. With Climate change upon us, 70 mile wind seems too low to me.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'nancever'

nancever | November 11, 2011 at 12:55 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

I am not in favor of these "sails" (they look more like rabbit ears to me). I think we can find something much more appropiate to the space.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'nancever'

nancever | November 11, 2011 at 12:57 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

Oops sorry - make that "wings".

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'shuvam'

shuvam | November 11, 2011 at 12:57 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

This structure looks beautiful. If it's beautiful when you go out there, there's an opportunity to make a business out of this park, and charge people to see the sculpture and waterfront. This will add to San Diego's tourism industry. Like cities with famous monuments, I think this will prosper as an icon for people to see when they visit, and potentially, this could become a long- term return on investment.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'nipshah'

nipshah | November 11, 2011 at 3:03 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

I have been working with the Port authority forover 6 years trying to develop the South Embacadero Park. Originally it was a huge white lotus for peace with a Gandhi's statue and panels depicting various aspects of Gandhi's life of Peace and Freedom. Then the Port asked me to come up with a plan for a complete Peace Park design. That we did at our cost. It had Speakers mound, a walk path and a Yoga/ Tai Chi stage and a small cafe. Then we went back to the monument only idea. It has twice passed unanimously with the Arts Council, but we have never been allowed to present it to the Board. We thought that would be a West Coast equiivalent of the Staus of Liberty in the East coast.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'bfm01'

bfm01 | November 11, 2011 at 4:02 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

As a long time friend of Malcolm Leland's, I am very familiar with his proposed design. He came up with this idea many, many years ago and it was for a folding sail-like roof to cover an outdoor amphitheater. It could be up when weather was comfortable and down covering the audience when it was too sunny or raining. It was graceful and functional and would stand 450 feet high when erected but would have a low profile when down. This does not look like his original design.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 11, 2011 at 10:12 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

nipshah, the lotus with Gandhi's statue sounds interesting, were there any renderings done? I would love to view them. Lotus can be quite an inspiration and great idea for form, as long as it's original (since the Lotus Temple in New Delhi of which I have been to [it's amazing] has already taken on an iconic modern lotus form). I think you are on the right track thinking of something that says West Coast.

Since San Diego has so much diversity in our history - Latin, Asian, European - I think fusing all our cultural heritage into a dynamic iconic large-scale form would be wonderful.

Another thing we all need to keep in mind is that this structure, like the rest of downtown, is under a 500 ft height limit. Because the airport is so close to downtown no structure can go beyond this which is why our skyline is lower than other cities and has taken on a "plateau effect". I noticed this proposal has the wings right at that height limit.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'susanmartha'

susanmartha | November 12, 2011 at 7:10 a.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

dislike this design for many reasons, not the least because it draws unnecessary attention to the Midway. i have a message for the people running the Midway museum: don't worry, your structure is impossible to ignore.

i'd also like to remind the Midway organization that they do not own the harbor waterfront of san diego, as much as they might want to do so. this proposed structure will only encourage others to build higher, thereby cutting off the view for the majority of san diegans.

might be nice to juxtapose the mammoth Midway with nipshah's idea of a lotus and peace park. i'd like to see the renderings for this idea.

finally, why not open this up to other artists?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | November 12, 2011 at 10:22 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

This is not about veterans at all. It's about two egotistic developer/sailing buffs who want to build a skyscraper sized memorial to their own egos and the fact that they help fund Dennis Connor's America's Cup campaigns. Those aren't airplane wings, they are meant to represent sails.

However, observers have described them as everything from giant bunny wings to the worlds biggest car hood ornament. Others have noted that "wings of freedom" sounds and looks like a feminine hygiene product, and have described the piece as a "titanium tampon".

What your panel didn't discuss is the fact that the Midway Museum wants to cover the entire pier with a two story high parking garage that would block public views and access to the bay. That is the element of this proposal that's getting ignored by the media when discussing this issue.

The Port is already in violation of the Port Master Plan and state coastal laws because it blocked public views over the Broadway Pier with a new cruise ship terminal. That is the issue that may kill this project when it goes before the California Coastal Commission. The giant bunny ears are just an an attempt to distract public attention from that fact.

As for the idea of charging people to stand on publicly owned tidelands and view their own bay, read the California constitution. This bayfront is still owned by the people of California, despite ongoing efforts by the Port and developers to wall it off and limit access to those who can pay for the privilage of standing next to the bay and seeing their own waterfront.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'twrb'

twrb | November 19, 2011 at 11:17 a.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with heteromeles. Iconic architecture should be part of the overall aesthetic and function of the place -- integrated into its use(s) for the benefit of the public. This thing is just another (giant) "sore thumb" piece of public art, cluttering up the waterfront. Why can't we have art/architecture that is complimentary with the landscape and the surroundings, rather than junking it up?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'OBeaner'

OBeaner | November 20, 2011 at 9:32 p.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

It would be cool if you could pay to walk up or take an elevator up to the top of these structures to enjoy the view (and maybe zip line to the ground for the daring). At least the costs could be recouped. But to build such a thing just to LOOK at? I don't think so.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'BAKER13'

BAKER13 | November 21, 2011 at 3:15 a.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

What a waste of money ! New art should, in my opinion , be futuristic and functional...Get some mechanical and electrical engineers that are atrists to come up with a tribute to modern technology. I want more out of a structure than looks - I may have Transformers on the brain - but even an 18th century watch maker could come up with a more functionally pleasing design.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'gti_matt'

gti_matt | December 1, 2011 at 11:45 a.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

I see that sculpture and could not help but think immediately of this episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

( | suggest removal )