Pier 26

Studio IntentionThis studio will focus on the creation of \”public space\” by non-profit, mission-driven organizations as a means of advancing their societal role. Social institutions, museums, libraries, and theaters create accessible public space interwoven with functional spaces, giving the institution more public presence and using public activity to enliven their spaces. While many organizations have sought new, spectacular architecture, we are interested in architecture\’s purposeful intention as an attractor of new visitors. As we reframe the conception of public architecture, and its creation of public space as a means to attract and retain visitors, thereby advancing the organization\’s purpose, we explore architecture\’s utilitarian performance, perhaps a post-spectacular approach. The studio\’s intention is to discover varied strategies and performances of architecture as it creates lively institutional public space engaged with the life of the city. As we suggest a purposeful performance for public space, we conceive of it as framework for specific human experiences and uses. Historically, public space supports exchange -money, goods, ideas. As a marketplace it supported commerce; as a forum for the expression of opinion it supports discourse; and as a \”town square\” it supports access to information. The digital commons offers yet another virtual model of public space. All of these forms of public space are to be considered models for the operation of public space. If presumably the non-profit organization\’s purpose is to advance specific aspects of the public interest, a more vivid, active public engagement is the core of its operation. The project engages questions of how public space operates as interactive and self-sustaining and how those spaces relate to program and exhibition spaces. The same question applies to public versus private, controlled and controllable. SiteThe site is the existing historic Pier 26 in San Francisco. The pier is located on the Embarcadero with its entrance directly under the Oakland Bay Bridge; it is several blocks southeast of the Ferry building. The pier is a single story gable timber structure that rests partially on concrete retainage but mostly on pier foundations on the bay. It is approximately 100,000 square feet, currently used for parking. Its front facade along the Embarcadero is its only facade of historic significance. For the purposes of the studio, the Pier\’s historic significance not as important as is its relationship to public space. Similarly, sustainable strategies are encouraged, as they are basic to responsible design strategies, but are more significant to the studio when they also advance the public use of the pier. ProgramThe city has designated the location for use by a non-profit organization. We propose a contemporary arts organization, loosely based on a Minneapolis organization dedicated \”to supporting emerging artists; enhancing the public\’s understanding and appreciation of their artistic expressions; and fostering strength and vitality within the arts, cultural and educational communities of the city.\” They offer emerging artists a unique venue for exhibiting their work, and for artistic experimentation, showing sculpture, video and installation art as well as painting, photography and other two-dimensional work. The program includes: lobby, exhibition space, a forum space, performance space, education center, shop, and administration. The total required programmatic area accounts for 70,000 square feet allowing students to propose additional uses or the creation of exterior spaces. ProcessThe final project should offer a complete proposal for the site that engages the pier, the city and promotes its public use. The first several weeks of the semester will study public space, its potential uses, and to research the specifics of the site and p