2015 Awards

Design: General

Merit Award

Exploratorium at Pier 15
San Francisco, CA
GLS Landscape Architecture
Principal in Charge: Gary Strang
Project Managers: Wendy Mok/Elisabeth Bouchard
Client: Exploratorium

Phase II expansion, in section, will bring greenery to Phase I hardscape.
Phase II additions will be places over reinforced pilings left exposed.
Events plaza holds outdoor film screenings and kinetic sculpture, provides water access.
A pavilion for fundraising and restaurants opens onto an events plaza.
New Embarcadero entry, adjacent to transit, holds plaza seating and exhibits.
Two acres of science-related outdoor activities uphold the museum's theme of curiosity.
Replacing concrete lot with seismically-sound open space required pilings' reinforcement or removel.
Existing conditions and site plan; future Phase II landscape not shown.

The Exploratorium is an interactive science museum that has moved from an isolated site near the Presidio to downtown San Francisco Embarcadero waterfront. The new centrally located site involves the renovation and seismic upgrade of two decrepit piers, including the replacement of hundreds of pilings and the removal of a 2 acre parking lot over the bay, with publicly accessible open space for large scale outdoor exhibits related to the observation of natural phenomena such as wind, fog and tides. The formerly industrial site, re-connected to downtown following the removal of the Embarcadero freeway, now has an exposed saltwater basin surrounded by public and ticketed plazas, 3 new bridges, and nearly 1/2 mile of new public waterfront promenades. Work by applicant includes seating, metalwork, lighting, and seismic guardrails and joints.  To satisfy curatorial needs for flexibility, adaptable exhibit infrastructure is integrated into the design throughout including water, data, and power.