COMPETITION: 280 Freeway Competition by
SF Center for Architecture + Design
YEAR: post-graduate
DATE: july, 2013
DESIGN LENGTH: one (1) month
TEAM: evan shieh, ali chen

PROJECT SITE: 280 freeway termination, mission bay, san francisco
PROGRAM: environmental research center, aquarium, retail, public space, public green park
The SF Center for Architecture + Design's competition called designers to reimagine and restore the space beneath Highway 280 in the Mission Bay neighborhood. The tradition of removing freeways is not a new one for the city of San Francisco: two neighborhoods, the Embarcadero and Hayes Valley, have enjoyed a renaissance through freeway demolition that healed scarred communities, enabling those communities to reconnect with their waterfront. Our proposal for the competition, titled BLEC (Bridge-Link Environmental Center), transforms the 280 freeway removal site into an all-in-one hybrid park, linked bridge, and environmental research center serving the neighboring mission bay community and the greater San Francisco at large. BLEC has four main objectives:

First, it gives 100% of the freeway footprint back to the Mission Bay public in the form of an open green park. It does this by connecting Berry and Channel Street, currently separated by the channel and the freeway, with a flowing green park that takes the form of a bridge and is activated by an integrated bike and designed pedestrian path. Second, it revitalizes the cannel waterfront edge by drawing the public along a public boardwalk activated by retail and a public plaza. This allows the mission bay community to directly interact with the water's edge, both visually as well as a programmatically through the creation of water-friendly activities along the cannel's length. Thirdly, our proposal provides the community with a new environmental research center, aquarium, and public community center. The intent of this new program is to educate the public about environmental issues related to Mission Bay and San Francisco at large and dually fuse private and public program into hybrid community spaces that foster collaboration between researchers and the public. Lastly, our creation of a bridge-building, with an elevated observation deck facing the cannel, gives the Mission Bay community a new iconic and architectural focal point, which we hope will urbanistically ignite new development around the site.

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