Union Square

Designers: RHAA, Philips + Fotheringham | City: San Francisco, CA | Project Type: urban plaza, cultural center
Date Visited: 11.03.12

Location: Powell St and Geary St San Francisco, CA 94101
Size: 2.6 acres
Cost: $26 million renovation in 2001
Official Opening Date: 1849

Union Square is one of the best places to people watch in the city. Now a commercial center, the urban park has undergone a radical transformation from its past. In the 1860s, the site was the host of pro-Union Civil War rallies and was surrounded by churches and residences. Today, Union Square is one of San Francisco’s top shopping destinations.

Surrounded by blocks of retail and situated at the heart of the city with a stage for gatherings, Union Square attracts a flood of people. With always something going on or someone trying to sell you something, the hustle and bustle of Union Square is a fast-paced environment that is worth experiencing, even if it leaves you feeling a bit drained by the end.

In 1998, a design competition was held to revitalize the nearly 150-year old Union Square. Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA), a local landscape architecture firm won the competition and led a team of fifteen sub-consultants in the Union Square Improvement Project. The redesign included a new central plaza, cafe, visitor services pavilion, and renovation of the existing garage.

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