Playgrounds, lookouts, parklets, terminals ... AIA SF Awards highlight cool new architecture in the Bay Area
Hayes Valley has gotten so congested at this point, its need for some space to breathe is critical — and with patricia's Green being pretty much overrun and Hayes Valley Farm about to disappear under a cloud of construction, it's only getting worse. This groovy clubhouse and playground design by WRNS Studio (in association with the Trust for Public Land) updates the 1958 Parks and Rec space with some bright color, fun contraptions, and spacious feel, creating a safe space for kids to "foster an appreciation of nature and social gathering."
LAND'S END LOOKOUT
Perched above Sutro Baths, on a cliff exploding right now with colorful blooms, this exceedingly graceful 4,050 sq. ft. National Park Service visitor center is one of my new favorite places in the world. It contains a smart little cafe, oodles of info on the natural surroundings and nearby historical hot spots, and a superfriendly staff. But the design itself, by EHDD, fits so perfectly into its Point Lobos surroundings (and puts further to shame the industrial barn-like Cliff House next door) that you may find yourself lingering beyond a cappuccino to enjoy the light and light-filled space, waves frothing on the rocks far below.
ONE KEARNY LOBBY
A walk through the Financial District at night is a journey into Mad Men nostalgia — further back, even, as elaborately sculpted Neo-Gothic lintels from the early 1900s beckon over entranceways, lit dramatically by the spacious lobbies within. Contemporary takes are worth searching out as well. Redeveloped century-old beauty One Kearny's tiny new lobby, designed by IwamotoScott Architecture and entitled Lightfold (because we brand our lobbies now), is a wee swooner of luminescent stalactites, a.k.a. "an array of digitally-fabricated wood veneer lanterns" and bright, odd angles. Like all good entryways, it draws you fully in.
The glistening, organic-futuristic San Francisco International Airport Terminal Two "elevates the passenger experience with design strategies that reduce traveler stress, promote progressive sustainability measures and highlight the airport's art installations." It also kind of makes me not want to leave.