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Info Nodes - Safe Trestles Path Competition

Competition Semi-Finalist for: Safe Trestles

The design team approached this project with a deep understanding of Southern California beach culture and great appreciation for San Onofre state park, home to Trestles surf break. This destination is sought by surfers and environmentalist all along the west coast, perhaps because getting to the sand is a relatively challenging adventure. The design team wanted ensure that the best and most desirable aspects of the of the existing site condition we’re not infringed upon while simultaneously filling any inadequacies with energy producing educational kiosk’s.

The Walkway was planned in concert with the existing dirt foot path, as to not further intrude on the surrounding natural ecosystem. As the existing path undulates with the terrain, the proposed walkway neutralizes the terrain where necessarily for safe access. There are moments where the pathway submerges into the landscape and the existing dirt footpath is utilized, and moments where the elevated pathway safely transitions uses over steep terrain.

To create micro destinations along this adventurous walkway, we positioned “info nodes” at strategic points. To lead users from one point of the path to the next, we oriented the Node Module to receive and direct visitors. Each info node contains an educational element to inform uses of the sites ecosystem and its history. Primarily, however, the Nodes were designed to be exemplary of innovative sustainable technology. The inner nodes are solar energy collectors, while the entrance node is the public showers station that collects runoff to re-use onsite and process grey water for re-use. The Node over the wetlands is designed to harvest algae for bio-fuel through a coiled bioreactor that also filters water for the wetlands ecosystem.

Overall, the design is meant to minimize the intrusiveness of human development on existing ecosystems while also trying to create an innovative and exciting experience. The design team concluded that building a bridge over train tracks would be visually obstructive to this natural landscape and a tunnel would be a great disturbance to the site. Our solution was to create a designated crossing with an “info node” nearby to display train crossing timetable and history of the California railroad. Instead of distancing visitors from the train, we wanted to create a low impact solution that would heighten the visitor’s awareness.


Oceanside, California
United States


Competition Category Entered

Competition Details

  • Name: Safe Trestles
  • Host: Architecture for Humanity
  • Type: Public
  • Registration Deadline: April 17, 2010
  • Submission Deadline: April 17, 2010
  • Entry Fee: $20
  • Award: up to 5 Finalists: each awarded Phase 2 design stipend of $5,000.00+
  • Contact: alix o
  • Status: Winners Annouced

The competition entry ID for this project is 7060.

Project Details

NAME: Info Nodes - Safe Trestles Path Competition
PROJECT LEAD: Hunter Ruthrauff
LOCATION: Oceanside, California, United States
START DATE: March 14, 2010
CURRENT PHASE: Schematic Design
PROJECT TYPE: Landscapes/Parks/Outdoor Spaces
BENEFICIARIES: Surfers, the general public, environmentalist, beach visitors, park services, the city of Oceanside, educators, etc.

About Our Partners


San Onofre Foundation is a charitable organization whose mission is to provide education, protection, and preservation for the California State Parks at San Onofre and San Clemente State Beaches.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.

Architecture for Humanity is a charitable organization that seeks architectural solutions to humanitarian crisis and brings design services to communities in need. We believe that where resources and expertise are scarce, innovative, sustainable and collaborative design can make a difference.

Rebuild is the San Diego chapter of Architecture for Humanity, providing solutions to problems that face communities on a local and global level through participation in design competitions, initiating their own projects, and working together with other humanitarian and non-profit organizations.


Nike 6.0 defines innovation and embodies the creativity of youth, united by action. Nike 6.0 delivers footwear and apparel to support the new generation of action sports athletes who are changing the worlds of surf, snow, ski, BMX, wake and moto. Their unlimited potential and contagious energy deliver the future through performance and lifestyle.