Jamestown LP approached Groundworks Office with a challange to reimagine their corporate campus situated along San Francisco's historic Embarcadero. The existing campus is outdated and reminiscent of days when water was plentiful and Kentucky Bluegrass was en vogue. Our approach was two-fold, make spaces for people and deepen the sites potential ecology. For Phase 1 of the project we introduced a entirely new planting palette to the campus, using drought tolerant and native plantings we reduced water consumption and maintenance cost dramatically of the project. In Phase 2 of the project we set about designing two peacemaking nodes for the campus. Each node received a custom designed bench, constructed on Western Red Cedar and Cor-Ten Steel. These two materials reference the sites manufacturing and nautical past, built with robust and sturdy esthetic they will withstand the site's harsh marine climate.
Albany Loop, is a fun and interactive element, visually exuberant and spatially dynamic. Looping across the site, a 12” diameter, high strength steel pipe, shapes the homogenous tract of green lawn, into a fun and playful space. At its crescendo, it loops to spell A – L – B – A – N – Y, in an audaciously graphical and energetic statement.
Columnar Graphics, highlights the three major creeks that intersect the Ohlone Greenway. The three creeks, Cordornices, Marin, and Cerrito, are named from the Spanish. In order to reflect the meanings of those words, BART transit columns will have a unique graphic pattern to illustrate the creeks.
Urban School Campus
Working in collaboration with the Pfau Long Architects, Groundworks Office is developing concepts for three new courtyards, a roof garden and streetscape as part of the school expansion. Each courtyard is intimate and uses a simple palette of materials to create spaces for students to use and occupy. The roof garden is kept as a flexible space that will be used for a variety of organized and ad-hoc events. The design incorporates stormwater structures that increase water quality as well as create educational opportunities for students.
TUNNEL TOP PARK
For the past few years Groundworks Office has been working with a hardy group of neighbors and park stewards to turn this challenging remnant site into a new urban gathering node. With commanding views to the south, the half-acre park is chock-full of site constraints and limitations; location atop a rail tunnel and its proximity to Interstate 280. The response has been to keep the design simple and without any load bearing structures, and focused on mitigating both noise and expanding the ecological relevance of the site.
In order to meet increasing demand, SFO is redesigning Terminal 1 in order to improve the users experience at this world class airport. In the process the design team is taking the opportunity to rethink the way airport functions in terms of social, environmental and economic factors. GWO is teamed up with Kuth-Ranieri Architecture and Gensler to design the T1 Terminal in a manner that meets the needs of the airport and reflects the values and aspirations of the people of the San Francisco Bay Area. GWO is tasked with the job of bringing the landscape into (courtyards and plazas), on (roof) and below (lower level parking and streets) the architecture in ways that improve the personal experience, adds texture and life to the design, and provide functional landscapes. This project is in the final phases of schematic design.
WOODS YARD PARK
The Dogpatch Neighborhood was void of any outdoor play spaces for children, our office worked to develop plans to build a new tot lot in Woods Yard Park. The design references the intense patterning of the Checkerspot Butterfly with a high contrast rubberized paving pattern for the surface of the playground. Reclaimed wood benches will be added to provide a pleasant perch for parents, etched on the seat back of the bench will be high contrast lettering identifying the neighborhood park. A new planting regime will interrupt the lawn that dominates the park with a small patch of drought tolerant native butterfly attractor plant species.
Deck It! is a project we designed for a residential client that wanted to maximize the outdoor space on a rectangular suburban lot. The design takes on two faces of the house, the front yard, the public face of the house and the rear yard, the private garden. For the front yard we kept things relatively simple in formalizing the entry experience with large concrete pavers and the creation of a new front porch. In the rear yard we split the long narrow space with a deck that extended out from the main living area of the house. The scheme for the deck was to warp the horizontal surface of the deck to a vertical usable surface. Inserted into the vertical wall is a lounge couch, succulent garden and a retractable shade canopy. Construction was completed in May 2012.
Site of the planned San Francisco International Airport, home to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, former Naval Base and future San Francisco neighborhood, Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island have and will continue to play a significant role in the experience of San Francisco Bay. The concept for development embraces the natural forces and beauty of the Bay, and combines a magnificent natural park with compelling urban design to create 250 acres of open space and parks. A winner of numerous awards for its environmentally sensitive approach to sustainable development, The Clinton Global Initiative and the American Institute of Architects, Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands are poised to set the standard for re-development within an existing urban context. A model for sustainable development, the design proposes innovative strategies for storm water management, transportation infrastructure, urban agriculture, habitat reconstruction, and environmental stewardship.
Brennan Cox was intimately involved with this project for 3 years as project manager and responsible for design and graphic production of the Development Plan Design Guidelines, Open Space Plan and Environmental Impact Report documents.
Groundworks Office worked with Jamestown LP to develop an engaging linear playscape in an existing retail space in Alameda, CA. The goal of the design is to enliven the space between existing buildings with a vibrant playscape that will be an attraction in its own right, providing an amenity for shoppers and local residents. GWO has proposed an undulating ground plane and custom play structures which provide the opportunity for children to climb, roll, tunnel, slide and generally, just be kids.
One part renegade planting and one part community collaboration, makes the Jungle Stairs a very unique project for Groundworks Office. It’s fair to say that the Jungle Stairs is a unique urban remnant, a leftover from the carving of the grid through San Francisco iconic terrain. Found atop Castro Hill, this steep hillside has become a refuge for urban dwellers and a small moment of escape from the paved public realm. Having significant constraints because of the sites severe slopes, access is limited to the two staircases that negotiate the hillside. The remaining hillside is landscaped and suffers from an accrual of planting regimes that has left a hodgepodge of plant ecologies from agaves to tall grasses.
The goal of our work is to introduce a new plant regiment that is cohesive, visual and ecologically rich. We also intend to create a few urban nodes that promote a rich exchange between neighbors and visitors to the Jungle Stairs.
Funding for the project has been through a robust grant-writing phase with the project recently receiving funding from San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant Fund. Design for the hillside is on-going with a goal to finish in late fall and construction to follow soon after.
This project introduces three new materials that define, shape and animate this garden perched above the iconic Lombard Street. Wood defines the edge and becomes an important threshold between public and private, granite shapes the programmed areas of the garden and water animates the space as well as provides a focal element from the interior spaces of the house.
The two tiered garden interfaces with the historic and hectic Lombard Steps and Street, which generates a critical need to define a garden threshold that provides privacy without limiting the gardens commanding views.
The defining element of the garden is the wood clad garden wall. Previously a concrete painted wall, the clad wall defines the perimeter of the garden and introduces a new texture and pattern to the garden. Black Bamboo is used along the perimeter to shape and define the threshold between adjacent neighbors and the well-trodden public walkway. The horizontal spaces of the garden are demarcated with black basalt, which is cut and patterned to create a smooth rhythm that runs the long axis of the garden connecting the home and garden.
2100 SAN PABLO
GWO is teamed up with RG Architecture to develop a 95 unit mixed use residential building in West Berkeley’s burgeoning Arts District. GWO is developing a common courtyard and roof deck for the project. The planting and materiality of the project references the gritty neighborhood as well as the specific site conditions. The project is slatted to start construction in late 2016.
Groundworks Office is currently working to renovate the main courtyard space of a high density residential complex in Emeryville, California. Planned for construction in early 2015. The project consists of four cor-ten site walls that intersect with a small landform that helps to create an intimate garden for the residents. We intend to employ a fabrication method that uses CNC milling to pattern the walls with a graphic that will be lit from within the walls and provides a soft lighting effect to the courtyard.
Minnesota Street Park
GWO is working in collaboration with the Dogpatch & Northwest Potrero Hill Green Benefit District and the Minnesota Street Project to enhance an existing greenway by extending the planting areas, closing a through street and creating a plaza for community gatherings and special events.
Working in collaboration with Widgery Studio, Groundworks Office is developing a proposal for an art installation in a very unique urban space beneath the Powell Street Bridge in Emeryville. Our proposal "DAZZLE" references the distinct geometric patterns painted on ships during WWI and II, to camouflage their distance, speed, and direction on the water. We have adapted this camouflage technique to mask the ominous presence of the Powell Street Bridge and begin the process of creating a vibrant urban node that links north and south, east and west.
By painting the massive columns with a strong geometric pattern they become visually interesting, yet simultaneously dematerialized, and no longer perceived as ugly support columns. Our proposal also relies on rows of stainless steel “leaves” that are mounted to the columns and respond to atmospheric conditions. The “leaves” animate the space in surprising and unpredictable ways. As the “leaves” move and respond to wind conditions, light will bounce around the space, as well, the “leaves” will produce a subtle harmonic sound as they clink against the steel columns.