Redefining San Francisco’s Tragic Relationship to the Freeway
Lone train track, fenced lot, unattractive waterfront… the enormous elevated Interstate 280 overshadows this dejected land. A circumscribing obstacle, pollution generator, and public eyesore: this freeway has long been condemned by the community through political and emotional upheavals. Soon the freeway will be taken down, yet not by a destructive earthquake.
Instead, a green belt will rise above the current footprint of the freeway. The Seismic Harvest is the embodiment of a vision, a public infrastructure for food production and energy harvesting. It takes advantage of the existing structure and builds upon the site’s original characteristic. No longer supporting the freeway deck, the columns and beams are now part of a luxuriant aerial garden. (Lot 4,5,6)
On the ground, old freeway deck structure is flip upside down to become the planting bed of a community garden. With the energy collected from wind, solar and train vibration, a network of vines and gardens atop seismic machines laden with fruit and vegetables await their harvest season to be shaken off their branches. (Lot 4,5,6) The local produce gathered after each harvest is sold at the farmer’s market. (Lot 3,4)
Climb the observation tower to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, the bay and the green belt, or take a peaceful stroll along the botanical garden on the bridge. Here, one can also enjoy an outdoor public screening at dusk while taking a refreshing dip into the water or lounging by the poolside cafe. (Lot 3)
Take a boat ride from the ship dock, Sports enthusiasts can venture further to the ballpark hoping to catch a home run splash. On a hot day, avid athletes and fellow gardeners can both find shade under the photovoltaic forests along the open square. (Lot 2)
The newly populated Mission Bay and Design District now rejoin through this exciting ground full of discoveries. The development’s concerns about the longevity and health of the surrounding community are reflected through diversified programs and functions as a revitalized gathering place. For this neighborhood, the next earthquake would not bring a collapse freeway, but a community harvest festival.