Architect: WRNS Studio
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Project Team: Bryan Shiles, Brian Milman, Geoff Brown, Jenny Huang, Li Kuo, Rus Sherman, Melinda Turner
Landscape architect: TPL
Client: The Trust for Public Land
MEP Engineer: Mechanical Design Studio
Structural Engineer: Daedalus Structural Engineering
Civil Engineer: Luk and Associates
Contractor: CLW Construction
Project Area: 2,500 sqf
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ken Gutmaker
The existing 1958 clubhouse and playground at the intersection of Hayes and Buchanan Streets had become outdated and rundown. It also presented significant accessibility and safety issues for its diverse users. Because San Francisco’s Hayes Valley and Western Addition neighborhoods have few parks in the vicinity, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) partnered with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to renovate the park. Reflecting TPL’s mission to create livable communities through land conservation in and around cities, the new playground and clubhouse provide this dense area with a safe, welcoming facility that fosters a shared appreciation for nature, outdoor activity, and social gathering.
Nestled into a slight incline along the site’s southern edge, the low-profile steel and glass structure frames views of the city and focuses on the site’s open playground and park areas, inviting visitors in from the main entrance on Hayes Street. Clad in a rain screen of vibrant blue Trespa panels, the facility communicates the activity and vitality within. Patrons have access to a large community recreation room and a multi-use computer room. These can be reserved for evening use. These two main volumes, or pavilions, are joined by a living roof, which covers the office, kitchen, and restrooms and creates a protected porch-like space below. The south elevation’s middle section is covered with native plantings. As it matures, the living roof will come to feel like an extension of the park. All circulation is placed on the exterior of the building.
Direct feedback and involvement from the surrounding community significantly influenced the design development of the park. From the project’s inception, TPL engaged local organizations in a series of in-depth meetings and held public design forums. Through these interactions, several priorities—including high quality, contemporary design, and green features—were refined to become substantial elements of the final project.
The facility integrates a holistic system of passive site and building strategies, including the living roof, solar hot water heating, and passive cooling. Building orientation takes maximum advantage of the site’s sun and wind conditions, allowing for optimal daylighting and ventilation. Other sustainable design elements include recycled denim insulation, low-flow toilets, Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood, and native, drought-tolerant plantings. The ventilated rain screen provides additional insulation. The outdoor playground incorporates recycled materials and pervious surfaces to further minimize environmental impact.
The project was the first of three sites in the city to participate in TPL’s Parks for People—San Francisco Initiative, supported by five local corporations and other private funders. Hayes Valley Playground and Clubhouse also received funding from the City and County of San Francisco. Working in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, TPL hired WRNS Studio as part of Public Architecture’s 1% Pro Bono Program.
Text provided by WRNS Studio.