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ASLA-NCC

Awards

2018 Awards

Design: General

Honor Award

3rd Street Flashlight
San Francisco, CA
Bionic Landscape
Lead Landscape Architect: Marcel Wilson
Client: Museum of Craft and Design

Lighting, high quality materials and excellent detailing pack this public space with subtle but potent purpose.
As the sun sets, masts above angle their peculiar lights towards the public space, and the seating comes alive with a warm glow, welcoming visitor’s attention and use after dark.
At a bar of adjustabe seats a strip of succulent plants perched just below eye level dazzles with beautiful organic geometry and detail.
The project required a community process, letters of support, multi-agency review for planning and construction, and full building permits.
Packed with subtle but potent intelligence and purpose the flashlight is unexpected, striking, and comforting in this raw industrial-size urban context.
As viewers from the street pass by the wall apparently changes color instantly. From the street light mast, a ficus tree and iridescent color composed in what should be parking strip leap to the onlooker’s attention.
The scarcity of public space in the area escalates its value and supports the logic for its uncommon level of quality, detail, performance, and excellent execution.
The Flashlight channeled the large scale absence of public space and translated it to a meaningful, human scaled place emitting urban design cues.
Cars, trucks, bikes and trains zip past at 40+ miles per hour. The museum could be easily missed. The Flashlight uses a long faceted perimeter wall to engage the kinetic movement of the street and create a safe zone.
The 3rd street Flashlight is a new form of public space that confronts limitation and conventions with ingenuity and embedded intelligence.
From the sidewalk, the Flashlight presents an unexpected offering of comfortable seating, social spaces, and experiences for individuals and groups.
While physically small, the Flashlight asserts big picture results and demonstrates how urban complexity can be engaged and manipulated by design to enable life in the most forbidding circumstances.

When is small huge? It is a matter of context. The 3rd Street Flash Light is an important place in a San Francisco district with no public space. Commissioned by a design museum, the flashlight claimed space from a busy street to create a safe place for people, social interaction, and events in a rapidly transforming postindustrial district. The flashlight uses a long faceted perimeter wall to engage the kinetic movement of the street and create a safe zone for people. As viewers from the street pass by the wall apparently changes color instantly. From the sidewalk the flashlight presents an unexpected offering of seating and social spaces. Lighting, high quality materials, and excellent detailing pack this public space with subtle but potent purpose. It is a new form of public space that confronts limitation and conventions with ingenuity and embedded intelligence. While physically small, it asserts big picture results and demonstrates how urban complexity can be engaged and manipulated to enable life in the most forbidding circumstances.