“I feel both honoured and humbled by the challenge,” said studio founder James Corner. Renderings are by James Corner Field Operations. The land for the park will sit above a covered freeway and reconnect two parts of the former military base, previously separated by an elevated highway called Doyle Drive. “This is an extremely significant opportunity for the people of San Francisco to create a dramatic new legacy for future generations – a place where the Presidio meets the Bay, a place where the City can reflect back upon itself, a place where urban life meets the most amazing natural resources, unparalleled by any other city.”
The New York landscape architects’ previous urban developments include the conversion of a disused elevated train track in downtown Manhattan into The High Line, in collaboration with New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Dutch studio Piet Oudolf. The New York landscape architecture firm fought off competition from finalists Snøhetta, West 8, Olin and CMG to be awarded the commission by The New Presidio Parklands Project – a partnership formed between campaign group Presidio Trust, funding body Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and government agency the National Parks Service. The pathway detaches itself from the shoreline to form an elliptical cantilever over a bank of planting and a cycle route below. Public consultations are expected to begin in early 2015, with the project set for completion by 2018. One part of the former military site – Crissy Field – was converted into a park in 2001 and currently attracts over one million visitors each year. Sculptural wooden seating with the appearance of driftwood lines the path, separating it from a strip of grass. Renderings of the proposed Presidio Parklands design show a snaking walkway bordering the Bay’s marshland with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.