James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm of New York High Line fame, has been chosen to design a new 13-acre park in San Francisco. Field Operations was selected from a pool of five design finalists, the Presidio Trust announced today.
The park will be built in the Golden Gate Bridge National Recreation Area, which Mr. Corner described in a statement as “a place where the Presidio meets the bay, a place where the city can reflect back upon itself, a place where urban life meets the most amazing natural resources, unparalleled by any other city.” It will be funded and overseen by the New Presidio Parklands Project, a partnership between the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (Parks Conservancy) and the National Parks Service (NPS).
The new parklands will be created by replacing the elevated highway of Doyle Drive with an at-grade roadway covered by tunnels. This will free up 13 acres of new land above the freeway, which will reconnect two Presidio destinations: the historic Main Post, home to the Presidio’s oldest existing buildings, and Crissy Field. The park is expected to be completed in 2018, and will will offer visitors stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Manchester-born Corner, former head of the landscape architecture department at the University of Pennsylvania (his alma mater), has also designed Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island, South Park at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, and Central Waterfront in Seattle. He’s created parks in New Jersey, Tennessee, and South Korea; the pool deck of the MGM Mirage CityCenter resort in Las Vegas; the Con Edison site near the United Nations; and the ground plans for Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. He’s known for taking a holistic view of landscape design instead of approaching the discipline as a “tree person,” as he told Metropolis in 2008. “There is a desperate need [in landscape architecture]for a different kind of professional who isn’t so Balkanized, who is capable of seeing a bigger picture and choreographing a bigger team,” he said. Corner is becoming something of an heir apparent to Frank Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park and Prospect Park and considered the father of modern landscape architecture.
[H/T The New York Times]