Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Cesar Rubio; courtesy the architects
INTERSTICE Architects' “Sunset Parklet” – compact street furniture - is a highly durable, low-tech construction, whimsical and engaging concept, acclimatized to different utilities...
This pro-bono project by the architects located on Judah St. between 44th and 45th Avenue in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district, is a 50 ft long (2.5 parking spaces) all wood, multi-level stretch consisting of 4 “strips” that undulate along the length of the parklet, providing built-in seating, tables, and native planting. It includes a dog watering area with leash ties to assist dog owners, and a built-in bicycle rack and pump station to engage cyclists.
Divided into 4 equal 18” parallel strips, which start aligned at the uphill eastern edge - to create an MTA approved Bike Parking platform, the strips continue flat, beach-like, until they suddenly diverge vertically to follow seemingly independent programmatic objectives. Each of the four “street” strips undulate, creating complex adjacencies as they pass each other and double back upon themselves becoming seats, lounge chairs, tables, benches, planters, and accessible areas of ground and circulation along the entire length of the Parklet until they all reunite to form a raised planter that shields the windward western edge like the prow of a long ancient ship.
The final result is unique and exciting in its formal abstraction, while at the same time comforting and highly functional. From some angles it resembles a large barge, or freighter carrying its passengers to the nearby beach, while from the pedestrian approach, it offers a warm complex wood environment as a refuge from the concrete sidewalk in which to relax, play, gather with friends, tell stories, eat lunch, or simply occupy a quiet corner alone with a book surrounded by swaying native grasses.
Constructed of sustainable and reclaimed materials, the program challenges the notion of a “café Patio” – to produce an elegantly articulated work of sculptural mass that galvanized the greater community around both its political support, and its funding over a grueling two year process to become point of local pride. An ambitious program, it easily adapts to a host of desired seasonal, day, and nighttime activities. It is been awarded Special Recognition in Urban Design from San Francisco’s AIA Design Awards Program.