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Del Mar Highlands’ Sky Deck wins San Diego AIA architectural award

Architectural firm RDC won an AIA award for the design of Sky Deck.
(Benny Chan)

Sky Deck, the restaurant collective in Carmel Valley’s Del Mar Highlands Town Center, was recently honored for its design.

RDC, the architecture and interior design firm that envisioned Sky Deck, received a 2022 Merit Award in the category of interior architecture from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), San Diego Chapter on May 19.

“The acknowledgment of the AIA San Diego with this design award is extraordinarily meaningful to our team of architects and designers at RDC,” said Mitra Esfandiari, RDC senior principal in a news release. “RDC collaborated with client Pat Donahue to create an authentic and memorable place for the local community to gather and have fun.”

The project faced delays due to the pandemic but finally opened in June 2021. Nine restaurants and a central cocktail bar are found under a high-pitched roof that integrates Douglas Fir wood, exposed steel beams and an expansive 35 feet by 60 feet skylight. An elevated outdoor beer garden called the Brewer’s Deck, reached by a grand staircase, features three breweries. Inside, a series of found object art installations reflect a “nautical industrial” theme that RDC said was inspired by the port of San Diego.

The Sky Deck was developed by Donahue Schriber Realty Group as part of a multi-phase remodel of Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The property was acquired by First Washington Realty in April this year.

An art installation inside Sky Deck.
(Benny Chan)


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