We had a quick look this morning at the new Lands End Lookout Visitor Center, a collaboration of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and The National Park Service, designed by EHDD with landscaping by Surface Design. Our mere cellphone camera couldn't do it justice, but the result should prove to be one of those buildings unique to San Francisco in the layers of it's green design, recycled materials and visual heritage. And soberingly for the architects, one that will be seen by millions of people.
The design harks back to EHDD's work at The Sea Ranch when they were called Esherick, Homsey & Dodge— an enclosed entry courtyard, the lightly pitched shed roof, carefully framed vistas of the sea and forest. At almost no point are you out of sight of old cypresses or crashing waves, whether you're getting a latte or shopping for souvenirs, and the building is decorated with Beaux-Arts style sculptures reproducing works in Adolph Sutro's collection. One of which— a stag— is reclining on a bed of oyster shells discovered during excavation, the trash from the site's 19th Century pop-up oyster shacks.
Outside, a long esplanade leads along the ocean side from Point Lobos Avenue to a new trailhead and the USS San Francisco Memorial, plus a re-landscaped, terraced parking lot (every car gets a view.) Down below, surf crashing up against the ruins of the Sutro Baths. Kudos to all involved. More renderings from Surface Design here, plus a peek at the Golden Gate Bridge Roundhouse, another collaboration of the two firms that will open next month. The Lands End Lookout Visitors Center opens to the public on Saturday, April 28.
· Lands End Lookout [EHDD]
· Lands End Lookout [Surface Design]