280 Freeway Competition Winners

The Center for Architecture + Design and the Seed Fund announced the winners of the Reimagine. Reconnect. Restore What if 280 came down? competition at the Architecture and the City festival Opening Night Party, Friday, August 30. The free competition encouraged artists, academics, architects, planners, landscape architects and designers to submit concepts for public art, buildings, landscape treatments, public amenities and infrastructure, or other urban design interventions made possible through the replacement of Highway 280 north of 16th Street. $10,000 in prizes was awarded.

Winning Projects

Special Recognition: Seismic Harvest

Historically in San Francisco, demolishing freeways comes in the political and emotional aftermath of an earthquake. Through the community garden, commercial organic farm, and waterfront development, D.IS.H created Seismic Harvest to integrate earthquake simulators re-imagined as harvesting systems. The master plan redefines the city’s history with removing freeways to harvest a new community.

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ARC DE DEFE[E]T, by Academy of Art University graduate students Jonathan Bradley and Ye Bao, creates demand for bikes by giving them away to the people that choose to park their automobiles at one of the existing parking structures of Mission Bay. With the growing demand for a healthier environment and the growing production of automobiles to facilitate the world’s population transportation needs, 280 highway is a perfect building typology to subvert our dependence on the automobile.

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In Fieldshift, by students Erik Jensen and Justin Richardson, the field challenges spreading, high-end exclusionary development and prioritizes affordability in its surrounding neighborhoods. A localized honest adaptation of the scar alongside an at-grade approach to the city center, via rail, minimizes absorbed real estate costs. This maximizes the city’s ability to retain public land for housing in the parcels outside the domain of the chosen site.

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With Highlink, Brian Vargo envisions the existing structure of a highway overpass as a vibrant pedestrian promenade. From ‘highway’ to ‘highlink,’ the project reconnects Mission Bay to the city, adds value to its greater surroundings, and practices the progressive sustainability that gives San Francisco its unique identity.

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Katherine Jenkins and Parker Sutton’s Salt Sand Sieve proposes a field of urban dunes to generate a porous and ecologically diverse shoreline and to establish a sensory landscape informed by the meter of the highway and the forces of the Bay.

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The jury included Allison Arieff (New York Times Opinionator columnist / editor and content strategist at SPUR), Alma L. Du Solier (principal, landscape design, AECOM and Center for Architecture + Design board president), Walter Hood (founder, Hood Design), and Bill Roger (senior vice president and director of healthcare design, HOK).

Competition Background

In Spring 2013, Mayor Ed Lee announced an exploration of the potential of removing Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco. The tradition of removing freeways is not a new one for our city– two neighborhoods, the Embarcadero and Hayes Valley, have enjoyed a renaissance through freeway demolition that healed scarred communities. This competition was based on idea that this part of San Francisco can be transformed while also generating funding for several key regionally important transit projects: the electrification of Caltrain; the extension of Caltrain into the Transbay Terminal; and the transition of high-speed rail underground, as opposed to having it travel at street level through Potrero Hill and Mission Bay, which would require crossing streets to go below grade.