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It's Time to Weigh In on James Corner's Concept for the New Presidio Parklands

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Rendering of west lawn and gardens via James Corner Field Operations

Last we checked in with landscape starchitect James Corner's vision for the New Presidio Parklands, there were three schemes in play for the 13 acres of new landscape that will cover over the old Doyle Drive, which is receiving tunnel tops as it undergoes its transformation into Presidio Parkway. As you recall, the new parkland will link the main parade ground with Crissy Field, and Corner's firm, James Corner Field Operations, working with local firm EHDD, has drafted an elegant procession of elliptical paths to negotiate the grade change down to the water. Through an extensive public process, the Presidio Trust (along with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Parks Service) has been hosting workshops and collecting feedback on the kinds of spaces the public most wants to see in the revamped acreage. Now Corner's concepts have been unified into one vision, which the trust will present tonight at a public workshop at the Presidio Observation Post.




Rendering of west lawn and gardens (with potential additional elements) via James Corner Field Operations

This being a bureaucratic process at heart, there are, of course, several different versions of the new parklands in play. There's a basic James Corner concept, and also one with extra goodies (such as a small amphitheater) if funding can be found for them. Over the summer Corner's concept will go through an environmental study alongside two more run-of-the-mill alternatives that predate the design competition that got us here.




The Observation Post today (left) and a rendering of a potential replacement building via James Corner Field Operations

Here are some of the main ways the design has evolved since March:

· The idea of extending the parade ground north into a formal public green has been axed based on public feedback. "The feeling was the parade's plenty big, and we want the tunnel tops to be different," says Michael Boland, chief of planning for the Presidio Trust. Now, in the portion of the tunnel tops near the parade ground, the scheme is more informal and inwardly focused. "It's actually warm there because the topography dips down and creates a small bowl," adds Boland. "The idea is you'll descend into this warm, wind-protected gathering area where people can sit and enjoy the view back up the parade."

· As has long been planned, the Observation Post will be demolished, and replaced either with landscape or with a new building. In the Corner plan that imagines extra goodies, the new building is a glassy, see-through structure with a green roof that doubles as a lookout point. "It's like a building tucked into the landscape that you can walk on," says Boland.

· The amount of grass in the concept has been drastically reduced to save water. The plan reserves grass for areas where it really matters.

Now and throughout the summer, the trust will continue to collect input from the public, which you can offer at tonight's meeting or via the trust's website. "We want to get to a place where we have one concept where everyone agrees it hits the right note in terms of concept and feeling," says Boland.

Tonight's meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Observation Post, 211 Lincoln Boulevard, in the Presidio.

· James Corner's Three Presidio Parklands Schemes: How to Tell Them Apart [Curbed SF]
· James Corner to Design New Presidio Landscape Over Parkway [Curbed SF]
· On Rebound from Lucas Fracas, Presidio Tries a New Approach [Curbed SF]
· Preliminary Design Concepts [New Presidio Parklands]
· Starchitects Vie to Design Presidio Plot That Doesn't Exist Yet [Curbed SF]
· Comment [New Presidio Parklands]