560 Mission St. Plaza

Designers: Hart Howerton, Landscape Office | City: San Francisco, CA | Project Type: urban plaza, bamboo grove
Date Visited: 11.03.12

Locations: 560 Mission St San Francisco, CA
Size: 16,000 sq. ft
Official Opening Date: summer 2002

Another popular POPOS–stands for privately owned public space–in downtown San Francisco, 560 Mission St. Plaza was awarded the 2003 National American Society of Landscape Architects Design Merit Award and 7X7 Magazine’s designation as Best New Public Space.

A cool, shady area to take your lunch or explore on a hot, sunny day, the most distinguishing feature of the urban plaza is probably its bamboo grove planted against a 15-foot high red wall. Other features include Japanese maples planted in large bronze pots that bring the site down to a pedestrian scale, moveable tables and seating, a reflecting pool with a circular kinetic sculpture, and concrete and lawn terraces.

Aerial View. Image Credit: fineartsservices.com

Because the plaza is sandwiched between tall office buildings, the whole space is enveloped in shade. I visited the empty plaza on a Saturday afternoon; the emptiness and the shade made the space seem less inviting, particularly when contrasted with the sunnier and more popular plaza across the street (555 Mission St. Plaza). I wasn’t a huge fan of the lawn terraces–artificial turf was likely chosen as the material for the lawn strips because of the shade condition–however, 560 Mission Plaza is “an especially popular lunch spot.” And, I suppose that it is quite neat to find a tall bamboo grove in the center of downtown San Francisco.

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