Re-Imagining I-280 Design Revealed

San Francisco's Center for Architecture and Design recently announced the winners of a contest aimed at re-envisioning the space where the I-280 highway spur exists today. ASNC had convened a group of young professionals this past summer to submit an entry to the "What If I-280 Came Down" urban design competition as part of the the Center's Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative.

The final product represented an interdisciplinary approach, one of the hallmarks of PCSI, and addressed economic, aesthetic, and historical aspects of the land parcel. The winning designs were announced at the opening night party of the Architecture and the City Festival on August 30, 2013. The ASNC team was unfortunately not among the finalists, but winners included a field of urban dunes and a community garden created from the old freeway deck. You can view the other winning projects at the Center for Architecture and Design

Now that the contest is concluded, the ASNC team is excited to reveal its final design to the public. By replacing the elevated Interstate 280 section north of 16th Street with a surface boulevard, our team proposed creating a new “Mission Creek Arts District” in the six newly created land parcels. The new arts district would connect the nearby neighborhoods of Potrero Hill and SoMa with newly developed Mission Bay (see Gallery Image 2). The proposed district would also provide a diversity of activities, services, and human-scale spaces for the new workers and residents of Mission Bay (Gallery Image 3), while supporting San Francisco’s local economy, artistic community, and ecosystems (see Gallery Image 4).

Parcels 1 and 2, which abut residential developments, would feature public art installations in a “sculpture garden” format, in addition to much-needed open space, seating, and native plant landscaping. Parcel 3 is the hub of the planned arts district and features two visually pleasing footbridges along the walkway, over the end of Mission Creek, along with with a large plaza anchored by a large public art installation. 

Parcels 4, 5, and 6 of the ASNC design feature an innovative concept called “microzoning”. The “microzones” are small plots of land that are individually owned or leased that can accomodate a diversity of textures, forms, colors, heights, and landscaping. Some plots would be  “seeded” with 8’ by 40’ shipping containers, which are flexible, affordable, and speak to Mission Bay's history as a shipyard.