Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and PWP Landscape Architecture shared with us their proposal for the 8 Washington development in downtown San Francisco. The plans will continue the revitalization and support enjoyment of the historically under-utilized northeast waterfront by reconnecting the City with the Bay and providing housing and community amenities which include: dynamic pedestrian corridors linking Pacific Avenue and Jackson Street with The Embarcadero; a children’s play area featuring interactive sculptural gardens; an expanded health and aquatics center; cafés, restaurants and retail; and centralized underground public parking for the Ferry Building Waterfront Area. In total, the project will create 30,000 square feet of public open space and parks and an additional 40,000 square feet of private recreation space within a new fitness and outdoor aquatic center. With past projects including the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the historic Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5 just north of the Ferry Building as well as the transformation of Pier 24 into the country’s largest photography museum, San Francisco Waterfront Partners, and local development partner Pacific Waterfront Partners, possess a demonstrated commitment to excellence and a long-standing passion for the waterfront dating back 65 years.
Pacific Park, Children’s Play Area and Café
8 Washington will maximize the amount of family-oriented public recreational space available by converting the land area occupied by the current surface parking lot, a triangular piece of land on The Embarcadero at the corner of Washington Street, into a public park at the northern most end of the site which reconnects Pacific Avenue to The Embarcadero.
Addressing the neighborhood’s evolving demographics and need for active, programmed space for children, Pacific Park will feature a 4,500-square-foot play garden featuring climbable art sculptures and interactive water features. Three separate areas will target various age groups with design-savvy play spaces that reference materials from the nearby waterfront and the CaliforniaCoastal region. Public art will be interwoven throughout the site.
Designed by PWP Landscape Architecture, the topography of the new Pacific Park complements neighboring Sydney G. Walton Square Park which was designed by Peter Walker with SWA Group in 1968. Rolling lawns provide vistas out to the water and can be used for adults to lounge and kids to play. The park will be further activated by an adjacent café with outdoor seating which spills into the park, as well as additional café seating on the rooftop overlooking the Bay.
Dynamic New Pedestrian Corridors Enable Waterfront Access
The park wraps around the fitness and aquatic center via a newly expanded and improved Drumm Street Garden Walk and connects south to the proposed Jackson Commons, a dynamic pedestrian corridor which will link Jackson Street with The Embarcadero. In the redesign, Jackson Commons has been widened to strengthen the connection and views to the waterfront. The landscaped 6,650-square-foot space will be flanked to the north and south by cafes, restaurants, and retail.
A block north, Pacific Avenue will link Sydney G. Walton Square Park to the new 16,740-square-foot Pacific Park, and for the first time connect Pacific Avenue to The Embarcadero with both views and pedestrian access. Bolstered by open and airy landscaping and an overall wider space, the Drumm Street Garden Walk will serve as a north-south axis connecting Pacific Park to Sue Bierman Park.
Increased public access to and from The Embarcadero will allow San Franciscans to embrace the Bay in a manner that will radically transform the relationship between the adjacent city neighborhoods and the waterfront. A new system of parks and pathways will create a unified green network by linking multiple existing open spaces together and providing much needed connections to The Embarcadero, which were previously cut off.
Wider sidewalks, bicycle amenities, car share programs, and centralized underground public parking will improve both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the surrounding area. An active community of residents, restaurants, and retail will add to the safety and viability of the neighborhood by bringing more stakeholders and business to the neighborhood.
Community Recreation & Aquatics Health Center
The proposed plan replaces the existing private health facility with an enlarged and improved $12 million community recreation and aquatics club. As part of the proposed plans, the Health Center’s indoor fitness area will expand to 16,350 square feet from an existing 7,500 square feet. The new state-of-the art aquatics center will feature a 50 yard, 6,300-square foot outdoor pool that increases the existing pool area by more than 50 percent.
The striking triangulated design of the Health Center building includes a living green roof and living walls along The Embarcadero. Green roofs also top the majority of the proposed residential buildings, such that 35,000 square feet of green roofs are provided within the 8 Washington project. In addition to a positive impact on the LEED-certified project’s sustainability, the living roofs create a stunning view from neighboring buildings and enforce the network of green space created by 8 Washington. San Francisco Waterfront Partners’ commitment to the recreation facility – combined with the addition of public open space, which currently doesn’t exist on the site – dedicates over half of the land to recreation and park space and is one of the key community benefits of the 8 Washington proposal.