Most of the fun of watching San Francisco rebuild its seismically-suspect Bay Bridge isn’t from seeing the new span emerge, or from snickering at the BART chaos is causes, but from cataloging the brilliant and wacky proposals for what to do with the old bridge–besides blowing it up. There was the Bay Line project, from Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael, which proposed a deck-top park and hanging houses suspended underneath. There was the seemingly straight-from-Dubai fin-shaped hotel. There was the requisite urban-farm plan (it’s San Francisco, after all), and Chronicle architecture critic John King’s own vision for a giant renewable energy plant.
Those proposals haven’t gotten much traction from the city government, who’d rather have the offending old span lopped off and forgotten. But a different proposal has. Gateway Park is an idea floated by a group of nine government agencies, including the City of Oakland and Caltrans, to turn the 1.5-mile strip of land where the new bridge will touch down in 2013 into a public park. City officials tapped the megafirm Perkins+Will to oversee a selection process for designs. They hope to have one picked in the fall. Meanwhile, a public meeting drew suggestions straight out of that Sesame Street Operation Playground episode: a sail-in movie theatre! Burning Man art! A giant swing out over the bay! Right now, it’s a jumble of parking lots and billboards, hard to get to by car and inaccessible by foot. But that could all change, as San Francisco copies another one of New York’s schemes: first the High Line, and now Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s okay, guys, great ideas should be shared. Just give us first dibs on the swing.
[Via SF Chronicle]