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Heatherwick Proposes Design for 'Floating' Park

Friday, October 2, 2020

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Earlier this month, London-based Heatherwick Studio revealed design plans for a proposed flood-resistant ecological park in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood.

The British design and architecture studio is responsible for the design of New York City’s $25 billion Hudson Yards, which opened last year in March.

The Cove

Located at the southern end of the Central Embarcadero Piers Historic District, and what has been dubbed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Bermuda Triangle of waterfront development,” Heatherwick Studio plans to give the deteriorating 108-year-old piers a major upgrade.

According to reports, a fire ripped through the old cargo wharf in 1986, destroying its historic pier sheds. Since the incident, Piers 30-32 have remained mostly empty, except for a dated parking lot and abandoned buildings in beyond repair condition. In 2014, it was predicted that the piers would likely collapse within a decade unless the Embarcadero site received an $87 million investment to repair and retrofit the 13-acre site. Two years later, the site was listed as one of America’s 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Cove, our vision for Piers 30-32, saves the San Francisco piers and puts the beach back in South Beach. It features...

Posted by Earthprise on Sunday, September 20, 2020

Earlier this year, however, the Port of San Francisco released a Request for Proposals to enter into exclusive negotiations to develop and operate Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330. In total, the offering included approximately 13 acres of developable space on the piers, and 2.3 acres of space on the lot. The RFP’s objectives included the rehabilitation of a vibrant, financially feasible, mixed-use program, in addition to incorporating a variety of use types to activate the waterfront. Proposals were due by June 26.

In coming up with its design for the proposal, Heatherwick created a team of 20, going by the name EPX2, to develop what they call, “The Cove.” The redevelopment is slated to be constructed of concrete piles built above sea level, as to avoid predicted rising sea levels and unpredictable earthquakes or floods.

Functioning as an ecological park, the “resilient pier platform” will feature a five-acre public park at its center with a net-zero energy workplace campus consisting of two buildings flanked at its sides in a horseshoe-shaped design. Together, the two solar shingle-clad buildings comprise 550,000 gross square feet and contain 26 modules of various size. The glazed units will be low rise and appear to float on the water with their flat appearance. The design of the modules is reportedly inspired by the region’s original pier sheds.

The green area of the park is described to feature a rolling softscape of native terpene-laden trees and dune grasses, a carbon-sinking, floating wetlands, an oval boardwalk, onwards to a promontory, a bridge beyond, overlooking the bay.

A press statement regarding the designs further described that, “The entire Cove is smaller than the original pier footprint, has less bay fill, and is highly sustainable, and plans for net-zero carbon and International Living Future Institute certifications.”

"Synchronization of the design and construction of The Cove with the new Embarcadero Seawall Program, including their interface, is critical for an integrated, seamless, waterfront experience and mutual project success."

While reports indicate that Heatherwick’s proposal does not include a plan for the adjacent 2.3 acres located at Seawall Lot 330, the proposal is only preliminary and is expected to be adapted. If approved, the team aims to complete the mixed-use redevelopment by 2026.

Art Thompson, Executive Director at Earthprise noted, “"The protection of the health, safety and well-being of our people and our communities is paramount, and in jeopardy. Our waterfront infrastructure is our first line of defense in the face of forces bigger than ourselves."

"Timely, modern, ecologically-based resiliency improvements, which also respect the Embarcadero Historic District, like The Cove, are key to future-proof our City by the Bay, to safeguard our people, our assets, and our economy against natural disasters."

EPX2 is made up of the following: Earthprise, Sares|Regis, Heatherwick Studio, Paradigm Strategy, CMG Landscape Architecture, Page & Turnbull, Kendall/Heaton Associates, WSP USA Maritime, Fugro USA Land, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, MKA Civil, stok, PAE Consulting Engineers, Biohabitats, McLaren Engineering Group, Edgett Williams Consulting, Michael Schwab Studio, Manson Construction, DPR Construction, Concrete Technology Corporation, Mammoet, Consolidated Engineering Laboratories, SWCA Environmental, and Reuben, Junius & Rose.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commerial/Architectural; Design; Design - Commercial; Design build; Developers; Green Infrastructure; Historic Structures; Mixed-Use Facility; NA; North America; Renovation

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