American Society of Landscape Architects
Northern California Chapter


2013 Awards

Design: Transportation, Streets and Public Spaces

Award of Excellence

Davis Court
San Francisco, CA
Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA)
Principal in Charge: Manuela King
Associate/Lead Designer: Jacob Millard
Client: The Gateway

Open joints between cobbles allow water to circulate and slip over the stainless steel edge without disturbing the surface of the water feature.
The kinetic sculpture captivates passersby with a kinetic cloud of mist that is molded by air currents
The landscape architect worked with the owner to select an artist for the project.  A new iconic sculpture titled ‘Cloud Portal’ sits within a reflecting pool and faces downtown San Francisco to the south.
Davis Court by night: light bollards and benches with integrated LED lighting.
Most site elements are custom-designed for the project. Stainless steel curbs outline bio-filtration planters with Ginkgo trees and rushes while stainless steel and ipe benches help activate the site.
Thoughtfully edited materials help create a site sensitive backdrop for this busy urban space.  Historic cobbles, brought to San Francisco as ship ballast, were salvaged from the existing site and repurposed as a traffic calming element.
The plaza drains to open joints in the paving that run the length of the plaza. Collected stormwater is conveyed to bio-filtration planters.
Preventing virtually all runoff from entering the City’s overloaded combined sewer system, stormwater is conveyed through a bio-filtration system into subterranean infiltration basins and is released into the favorable sandy soils beneath the site.
The site is both a popular pedestrian corridor and a vehicle entrance for residents.
The surrounding urban environment informed a minimalist approach to create an activated and flexible urban space that is both enduring and sophisticated.
Davis Court has been transformed from a vehicle courtyard with marginal pedestrian spaces into a contemporary urban plaza that harmonizes uses.
Davis Court Site Plan

Davis Court is a signature private plaza that serves as an important pedestrian corridor between San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square district, financial district and Embarcadero waterfront.  This project transformed an aging vehicular courtyard into a contemporary urban space that harmonizes divergent vehicle and pedestrian uses and is a valuable case study for innovative urban stormwater management. Utilizing a design/build model, the project is a successful precedent for the transformation of public/private spaces.