Jon Jerde is a graduate of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California. After early years working at Charles Kober Associates on multiple retail projects, including Plaza Pasadena, Jerde was commissioned by developer Ernie Hahn to design Horton Plaza, across from Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego. The project is a five story outdoor retail complex, with the main passage being diagonally oriented to the street grid and at the time anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, and a Sam Goody music store; and connected to a Westin Hotel and the Balboa Theatre, resulting in an urban mixed-use center. It features long one-way ramps and sudden drop-offs, parapets, shadowy colonnades and cul-de-sacs. Its design broke many traditional mall-design rules such as lowering ambient arousal levels and protecting the maximal lines-of-sight to merchandise. Its fragmented spaces are finished in a variety of bright colors. The project was completed in 1985.
Jerde's Horton Plaza brought 25 million visitors in its first year, and as of 2004 continued to generate San Diego's highest sales per unit area. Jerde claims the project also sparked nearly $2.4 billion in redevelopment to the surrounding area and downtown core.
The Jerde Partnership was involved in the design and planning of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics. Based on the success of both Horton and the Olympics, the firm designed Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA in 1989; the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1992, the Urban Entertainment Center Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles; the pirate show and facade of the Treasure Island Casino in Vegas in 1993; the Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience in 1995; and Bellagio in Las Vegas in 1998.
The Jerde Partnership
The firm developed into a major international company with key urban regeneration projects overseas, including Beursplein in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Canal City Hakata in Fukuoka, Japan, both in 1996, as well as other projects in Japan, China, and Europe. More recently Jerde has completed a string of urban mixed-use developments, including: Namba Parks in Osaka, Japan, awarded the Urban Land Institute Awards of Excellence: Asia Pacific, 2009; Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, Japan; Kanyon in Istanbul, Turkey; and Zlote Tarasy in Warsaw, Poland.
Jon Jerde, FAIA serves as Chairman of the firm. The design is overseen by Jon Jerde and led by the firms Design Directors: David Rogers, FAIA, and John Simones.