Parkway 280 / by Karim Nader

Recycling the Remains
Rather than a mere deletion of the 280 Freeway bridge, this proposal is an attempt at a reuse of a relic through the preservation of its fragments. The eastern strip of the 280 Freeway will be preserved from 16th Street all the way north (until its descent into the street); as well as some of the columns that are left behind after the removal of the rest of the bridge. This will be an opportunity for the recycling of an urban structure to celebrate nature within the city at one level; and to enhance city life for the pedestrian at the level of the streetscape. All six land parcels are taken into consideration, formally and programmatically, while developing ideas along the eastern strip of the 280 bridge as one whole intervention. The program is studied as an intersection and extension of both eastern and western contexts around the bridge; Mission Bay and the Design District. The program is then allocated in certain positions in order to benefit the common interests of either entity found in each of the two areas; such as the UCSF biomedical campus versus the California College of the Arts. Suggested meeting spaces are green public spaces, exhibition/fair venues and an outdoor theater.
The project celebrates pedestrian activity through two networks; on the ground and on the bridge. On the ground level, the site is transversally linked through the grid of the streets as activities are generated from block to block through the design of lively streetscapes. On the bridge the site is experienced through a long processional with transversal visual connections to both Mission Bay and the Design District; as a getaway within the city.
The proposal is designed to promote environment friendly ways of life within the city and hence introduces several programmatically “green” activities; while incorporating the context and existing structures. A biking route is proposed to circulate on both levels (street and bridge) linking them vertically through a bike center at the end of the bridge. The bridge is then cut off and detached from the rest of the 280 freeway going south of 16th Street; a symbol against vehicular activity throughout the site. Urban agriculture activity is introduced by planting fruits and vegetables on the bridge. This space will give opportunity for a public effort by the community of San Francisco to grow their own produce, at which point the cycles of nature and life will start to take over the ruin inside and out.
A botanical garden is implemented to enhance the park at the end of the creek, acting as a recreational, educational and environmental node in the city. It holds a strategic location as a public space linking Mission Bay, the Design District, South of Market area and the ocean through the creek and the port. The remaining columns are reused as freestanding objects and sustainable structures for vertical gardens, new structures and points for energy production by wind turbines.
The story of Parkway 280 is told through a narration of eight moments encountered along the path, where the city is experienced in a new light that brings color to the area through art, nature, activity and the revival of a remain while linking two neighborhoods by the meeting of art and science.

Project Status: Competition Entry.

Designed by Karim Nader and BLANKPAGE Architects.

Visualizaztion by Mona Shaar and George Daou