San Francisco’s Tenderloin is the City’s densest neighborhood, and most of its residents live below the poverty line in small apartments without access to back yards or green space. Re-built in 1985, Boeddeker Park never lived up to its potential as the neighborhood’s largest public park. Early attempts to address safety concerns resulted in a maze of fences and visibility across the space was poor. Neighbors called it “Prison Park.” In response, The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the City of San Francisco, teamed with WRNS Studio to redesign and completely rebuild the one-acre park and clubhouse to meet the needs of the community. Together, The Trust for Public Land and WRNS conducted extensive community outreach, holding public meetings and forums at the site as well as at nearby youth centers, senior centers and churches—wherever local people were likely to come. Key decisions were made at these forums. The result is a new landmark park and clubhouse that serves as a model of civic engagement, inspiration, resource conservation and adaptability. The clubhouse was conceived as an inviting living room for the neighborhood. Its geometries and language are derived from integration with the park and a respectful contrast to the surrounding neighborhood fabric. This building extends both the tradition of San Francisco clubhouse design and the history of delightful contrast found in Tenderloin architecture.
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