The University of California Irvine Marine Research Cottage is located in the Historic District at Crystal Cove State Park, a 3.5 mile section of pristine California coastline. Built as a South Seas movie set in the 1920s because of its secluded location and tropical aura, the Crystal Cove Historic District was placed on the National Historic Register in 1979. The cottages and landscape have been restored to the 1950's beach culture ambience and are used for overnight accommodations. More recently, in the first partnership between an educational institution and California State Parks, UCI has renovated and adapted this cottage for use as a marine research station.
WHITIN DESIGN WORKS researched archival material including historic photographs and written accounts to recreate the vernacular coastal landscape of the 1930-1950's. The project plant palette was established in collaboration with California State Parks' biologists using this plant research. On the lee side of the cottage, an extensive ramping system was constructed to provide ADA access to the second floor facilities.