One Bush Street (SWA 1)

Designers: SWA Group | City: San Francisco, CA | Project Type: urban plaza
Date Visited: 11.03.12

Locations: One Bush St., San Francisco, CA
Official Opening Date: 1990

When I started doing research on what landscape architecture sites to visit in San Francisco, I reached out to the Northern California ASLA Chapter for ideas. And in response, they very generously mailed me a copy of their 2007 self-guided walking tour booklet covering sixteen landscape architecture sites in downtown San Francisco. Within those sixteen sites there are four small urban plazas–all within a quick distance of each other–and all of which were designed by or received consultation from SWA Group (Sasaki, Walker and Associates).

So I’ve visited each of the four plazas in the order outlined in the book (south to north) and will be dividing up these sites into four posts under the same SWA series.

The first plaza I visited surrounds the historic and iconic Crown Zellerbach building at the intersection of Market and Bush Streets. Though the plaza had already been designed years ago, the construction of high-rises around the area cast an increasing amount of shade onto the plaza. SWA Group was brought in to create a limestone paved plaza, new bridge access, as well as a new planting plan that would make the plaza a brighter and more airy environment.

I visited at a time when the whole plaza was cast in shade. It’s a well-maintained space with beautiful curving pathways and plantings, but the plaza was completely devoid of life; the fountain had been turned off as well.

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