Daylight modelling yielded a design that harnesses natural daylight with energy efficient electric lighting after dark. Photo: Nic Lehoux; Daylight modelling yielded a design that harnesses natural daylight with energy efficient electric lighting after dark. Photo: Nic Lehoux;

Newport Beach Civic Center and Park, Newport Beach, CA

The Civic Center is LEED Gold certified

The Newport Beach Civic Center and Park includes the new city hall building, community room building, council chambers building, parking structure, an extension to the existing library, and a pedestrian bridge all set within a new 20 acre park.

The design of the steel frame structures used in many of the new buildings meets the project constraints and minimises steel usage. This resulted in a lateral bracing system displayed for the building’s occupants.

The architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, along with Arup’s mechanical engineers, worked together during the design phase to optimise the exterior and interior shading to maintain a connection to the outdoors within the interior of the building. Our electrical engineers and lighting designers provided daylight modelling to harness natural daylight and implement energy efficient electric lighting after dark.

Our civil engineering team worked closely with the landscape architect, Peter Walker Partnership, to develop a series of vegetated bioswales and infiltration basins, which remove pollutants from stormwater runoff before it enters the city storm drain. These low-tech, low-maintenance solutions provide sustained treatment of stormwater, protecting both the onsite wetlands and Lower Newport Bay.

All told, Arup provided structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and civil engineering services, as well as lighting and telecomm design, sustainability consulting, and stormwater quality management for the Newport Beach Civic Center and Park.

Water Quality Management Plan

Arup prepared the Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) and Drainage Report for the new 20 acre site. For the WQMP, we designed a comprehensive site plan using Low-Impact Development stormwater management technologies in order to reduce pollutant loading from the site to the downstream Lower Newport Bay. The plan utilises vegetated swales with check dams, and bioretention basins to promote biofiltration, infiltration, and retention.


The design and construction took significant care to preserve two existing site wetlands that divide Newport Beach City Hall’s park. The final design highlights the ecological value of these wetlands through a series of pathways and pedestrian bridges. This offers visitors a unique view into a natural environment previously off-limits to the public. In addition to its ecological value, the wetlands provide attenuation of stormwater run-off, protecting downstream properties from flooding during extreme rain events.

Structural systems

By understanding the aesthetic desires and uses of the space, the appropriate structural systems were chosen for each building and bridge. Our structural engineers implemented BIM as a design aide to lead coordination efforts between Arup disciplines and with the architect, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, to conceal service distribution. Through optimisation and attention to details, materials were minimised while maintaining structural efficiency. The result was an exposed structure which complimented the architectural aspirations of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.