Landscape Architect & Specifier News

OCT 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Continued from page 16 h a rd s c a p e s 18 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Public Space Shapes a City Designers shape public space so that it subtly seeps into the neighborhood's collective consciousness over time. Union Square today represents that evolution. The Square's programing includes a variety of features designed to engage a broader spectrum of users. The technical resolution of topography and accessibility was challenging in a site that has over 22 feet of cross slope conditions and a structural concrete roof deck below the entire block. There was enough volume between the structural roof and the parking level below to provide depth for tree planted green terraces to transition between the existing slope of the parking structure roof and the street sidewalks surrounding the Square. Sustainable Materials and Public Art The integration of the materials and public art into the design was inspired by local history, natural flora and the site's topography. The striped pattern pays homage to the Crocker Soup Kitchen's long board tables used for feeding the masses in the Square immediately after the 1906 earthquake. The contrasting granite paving colors symbolize the sand dune and native environment that originally covered the site centuries ago and helps to visually define and break down the large space. Cast-in-place concrete planters are clad in a polished granite veneer to support the 27,000 square feet of intensive roof garden landscape area that makes up 30% of the site. Granite planters at two corner entries are engraved with a historic timeline of Union Square and of the mayors of San Francisco. Integrally colored cast-in- place concrete terraces, with 6-inch radii edges to deter skateboarders and create seating opportunities. A Social and Equitable Core The Square provides for a wide range of social and cultural events and experiences, becoming a sustainable "stage" where the visitor is both the entertainer and the entertained. At its core, the design reinforces the social drama of people watching other people, both casually and as formal entertainment. At the time of its completion, Union Square received a national Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Above: "Hearts of San Francisco" public art by SF General Hospital are displayed on one of the mini granite stages designed for street performers and artwork. Top, Right: Sixteen custom bas-relief ceramic tiles are inset into the granite walls at two of the entry corners. The tiles depict native California plants by artist Vicki Saulls. Bottom, Right: Granite was selected for the main hardscape material of the Square as a natural, durable material. The main central plaza is comprised of flame- cut granite paving over structural foam.

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