Directly opposite McCovey Cove and across the Third Street Bridge from Oracle Field, home of the San Francisco Giants, construction work is now underway on Mission Rock, a sprawling waterfront development project at the site of what was once an unsightly 28-acre surface parking lot. The ground-up district’s first phase will see the completion of two residential towers, courtesy MVRDV and Studio Gang, along with a pair of commercial office buildings designed by Henning Larsen and WORKac with 55,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space between them. The burgeoning San Francisco neighborhood—borne from a private-public partnership between the Giants, Tishman Speyer, and the Port of San Francisco, and guided by what has been described as a collaboration-driven “anti-master-plan master plan”—will also feature a site-anchoring, five-acre swath of open green space in the form of SCAPE’s China Basin Park.
Now, the Mission Rock Partners development team (the Giants and Tishman Speyer) have revealed the winning proposals submitted as part of a 2020 design competition seeking five singular outdoor installations to help activate the Mission Rock streetscape.
Selected from a submission pool of three dozen entries by the development team alongside an advisory committee comprised of local community members and residents, the five winning “Street Room” design concepts were chosen for their successful melding of the artistic and the functional and will “showcase a successful blend of natural elements and urban amenities to be integrated into CMG Landscape Architecture’s overall pedestrian-oriented streetscape design,” per a press release.
The winning Street Room installations are: a bronze statue of trailblazing Black female baseball player Toni Stone created by local broadcast journalist-turned-sculptor Dana King; an inviting, greenery-clad venue for al fresco dining and gathering from Min Design; an interactive art installation from Terrain Work that pays homage to the natural landscape of the Bay Area through a colorful, three-dimensional mosaic of stone; a neighborly open-air lounge space from 100architects, and a flexible table-slash-seating installation designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative that functions as a common urban meeting space.
“The Street Rooms will offer respite, points of interest and places of comfort and socialization,” said Yennga Khuong, director of Parks and Programming with the San Francisco Giants, in a statement. “They will also serve to stimulate engaging moments spread along the shops, restaurants, cafes and interactive storefronts that will animate the Mission Rock streetscape.”
While King and Min Design are both San Francisco–based, the three other winning concepts come from practices located further afield including Los Angeles (Oyler Wu Collaborative), New York City (Terrain Work), and Shanghai (100architects).
“The vitality of urban life really happens at the street level and in the offshoots that provide for human interaction,” Jenny Wu, founding partner of Oyler Wu Collaborative with Dwayne Oyler, told AN of the overall Street Rooms project. “This collection of interventions cultivates that is diverse ways, so we’re excited to be a part of it.”
“Designed with a diverse set of urban activities in mind, our proposal, in its conception, begins with the table as the most fundamental idea of an intimate gathering space,” Wu went on explain of her firm’s winning Urban Table concept.
“Urban behavior comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and sensibilities, and while our intention is to create a common urban meeting space, we’re also interested in recognizing the diversity of activities that might occur,” she said. “From intimate individual spaces to sit, to large tables that allow for six to eight people, the table’s meandering form and variety of adjacencies are intended to bring those groups together into a unique and vital urban setting.”
Urban Table along with four other installations will be realized along Mission Rock’s Dr. Maya Angelou Lane; King’s statue of Stone will, appropriately, come to life adjacent to Dr. Maya Angelou on Toni Stone Crossing. Set to be located just south of the intersection of the two streets will be the eye-catching POP Rocks.
“Erupting from the sidewalk, POP Rocks creates a dynamic sandstone sculpture that invites people to interact with it,” said Theodore Hoerr, founding principal of the landscape architecture and urban design studio Terrain Work. “The sandstone highlights the unique geological rock formations found in the San Francisco Bay Area while integrating splashes of orange and yellow reminiscent of the native California poppy wildflowers.”
When fully completed, Mission Rock will include roughly 1,200 residential rental units (40 percent of them earmarked as affordable); eight acres of parkland and public open space including SCAPE’s China Basin Park; up to 1.4 million square feet of office and lab space; over 200,000 square feet of retail and local manufacturing space; a new parking structure to serve Oracle Park and the larger development, and a revitalized Pier 48.
Below are renderings and further details, as provided by each winning designer, for the five installations that will help bring the human-scaled streets of San Francisco’s forthcoming new waterfront district to life:
Toni Stone statue | Dana King
“Toni Stone’s whole life was like standing on deck staring down a curveball. She wanted to play baseball from when she was little. Her parents, not so much…until she started making money from the game. She persevered well beyond the norms of the time, playing baseball with boys and then men and then making a living playing professionally but not in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Stone didn’t qualify for any of those teams because she wasn’t considered pretty enough, nor was she white. Toni Stone was the first to play with and get paid by The Negro League as a Black woman.
The sculpture will be made of bronze. It will be a bit larger than life as Stone was 5’7”. With a ball cap on and some additional height, the sculpture will stand 5’10” tall. Stone will be standing on deck, waiting for her turn at bat. Standing there alone knowing that she could be one hit away from greatness, or one strikeout away from failure, made worse because she is ‘the girl.’ The pose radiates confidence, representing her physical abilities as well as her emotional strength. She gazes up and away, visualizing what she’s going to do to that ball. The jersey she wears is the one she wore playing for her first professional team, the San Francisco Sea Lions. Her number is on the back. She wears the uniform with pride, and even in its bulkiness, one senses the difference in her form, but not in her heart. Baseball is the love of her life.”
Garden Party | Min Design
“The Garden Party provides a visually open space for dining and seating. Referencing garden structure forms, the enclosure’s open top allows for the street tree canopies to complete the room. A standing coffee rail encircles the structure, inviting pedestrians and bicyclists for socializing, eating and drinking. Planting vines will grow along the structure, providing texture and a bit of additional wind protection as it grows.”
POP Rocks | Terrain Work
“POP Rocks is an interactive art installation that celebrates the geological and botanical landscape of the Bay Area by creating a three-dimensional mosaic of stone — a poetic sculpture highlights the inherent texture and beauty of the region. The stone pieces serve as edges, seats, platforms and podiums. In addition to the stone, a splash of color is introduced on the side of the rock faces, which changes depending on what direction you are coming from. The pop of color not only creates different perceptions of the sculpture based on your orientation, but also adds vibrancy and whimsy to the streetscape. The yellow and orange colors recall the native California poppy wildflowers that are iconic to the Bay Area landscape.”
Lounge Room | 100architects
“A roommate is a person with whom one shares a living facility such as a room, an apartment or a house. In an attempt to transfer to Mission Rock’s public realm similar levels of intimacy, friendship, social interaction and engagement that one reaches with roomies at home, 100 Architects presents the project Outdoor Roommates. By mixing and combining the attributes of the words ‘Street’ (outdoor, active, commercial, public, borderless) and ‘Room’ (indoor, static, civic, private, protective), 100 Architects developed evolved typologies of urban artifacts that offer a sense of space in an open and shared fashion. The Lounge Room is a place for residents to take a break and hang out with their neighbors.”
Urban Table | Oyler Wu Collaborative
“Designed with a diverse set of urban activities in mind, the proposal, in its conception, begins with the table as the most fundamental idea of an intimate gathering space. Urban behavior comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and sensibilities, and while the intention is to create a common urban meeting space, Oyler Wu was also interested in recognizing the diversity of activities that might occur. From intimate individual spaces to sit, to large tables that allow for six to eight people – the table’s meandering form and variety of adjacencies are intended to bring those groups together into a unique and vital urban setting.”