Just Released: Plans for a New Presidio Park

Sep 04 at 3pm

Yes, one of the five teams selected by the Presidio Trust to design a land bridge park above Crissy Field also conceived Manhattan’s High Line. But don't call it our answer to NY's architectural smash-hit just yet. It's possible the renderings revealed today by the San Francisco Chronicle could draw as much criticism as did the proposed Lucas Museum. 

All five concepts connect Crissy Field to the Main Post of the Presidio over a pair of tunnels making up the Presidio Parkway (the replacement for the Doyle Drive route to the Golden Gate Bridge to be completed in 2016). Each idea for the 13-acres includes children’s learning spaces, a requirement of the $30 million in gifts secured thus far by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. And knowing their audience, several proposals promise food truck access. 

But from here, visions diverge. Of course, all five flights of fancy are just that. They're imaginative ideas that reflect perceived San Francisco design values, and to look upon them is to conceive of a future city and its recreational life. 

As one plan calls for both a bay ecology center and a beer garden, while another promises a smart phone-enriched experience, all designs beg the question: what are you guys doing Saturday afternoon five years from now? Still drinking beer?

Courtesy of CMG

CMG Landscape Architecture (San Francisco): Local group CMG is responsible for notable SF projects including the SFMOMA Rooftop Sculpture Garden and the Transbay Terminal Under Ramp Park. With their design for the Presidio, “The Observation Post,” the firm would expand the area’s marsh (and include a "floating playground" above it with nets to bounce across), convert the Sports Basement building into a youth learning center, and construct an "airfield bridge" above Mason. If that’s enough design to make you need a drink, you can stop at CMG’s planned Slough Brew Beer Garden.

Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

James Corner Field Operations (New York): “Presidio Point” could be James Corner Field Operations' next High Line – but this time with what looks like a stage, an expansion of the area's existing Parade Ground, and a “youth zone” along Mason Street. This would include a spectacular sounding “cliff walk” bluff between “playful sculptural forms.”

Courtesy of OLIN

OLIN (Los Angeles, Philadelphia): OLIN’s portfolio includes Bryant Park in New York City, the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, and locally, Mission Bay and Rincon Park. For this project, which for some reason they’ve titled “Your Gateway Park,” the team would connect a series of U-framed “pods” and restore marsh areas to be explored by a partially submerged pathway. The year being 2014 and the place being San Francisco, they’re touting an app experience for the site, because parks are better when you’re on your phone.

Courtesy of SNØHETTA

SNØHETTA (Oslo, Norway): SNØHETTA’s commissions include the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo and the controversial National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center. At their dream for the site, “Arcs and Strands” expect nothing short of  “A weekly participatory art performance celebrating the Golden Gate [that] will become an iconic part of the San Francisco culture." Halleck Street "will also be the site of food truck festivals, organized camping events, bonfire rituals and hundreds of other events not yet imagined." Food production would be planned for existing buildings along Halleck Street and the marsh would be extended.

Courtesy of West 8

West 8 (Rotterdam, Netherlands): West 8 designed Soundscape Park, which is adjacent to the Frank Gehry designed New World Symphony Building in Miami Beach. For the Presidio, they’ve devised “Presidio Gateway,” a ridge pathway for tree-lined views and the Sports Basement site filled in completely with marsh.

It’s possible that some Franken-park assemblage of these ideas and firms will eventually take shape, according to the New Presidio Parklands Project. “One of the five teams – or a combination of teams – participating in the conceptual design stage will be selected to lead the design and programmatic effort for the entire project. A decision is anticipated in late fall 2014.”

All five concepts will be presented today at two venues. You can catch them – and likely some debate – first from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the SPUR Urban Center and then at 7 p.m. in a forum at the Presidio's Observation Post. Finally, an exhibition of the five teams' proposals will open tomorrow in a gallery at the Presidio Trust's headquarters on the Parade Ground.

[Via: SFGate; images courtesy of New Presidio Parklands Project]

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