This 1982 landmark plaza and surrounding public realm in San Francisco’s financial district is being rethought for a new urban dynamic. The revitalization respects the grid and pure geometries laid out by the original designers, Philip Johnson and Bill Callaway, while incorporating 20% more planting, creating more greenery downtown and assisting with a reduction in the urban heat island.
With more generous street frontage and an assemblage of native planting, the boundary between building and landscape is softened. Interior lobbies and the outdoor plaza work together to create a flexible canvas for a wide variety for events. The material palette includes long stone benches punctuated with accents of warm ipe wood slats. The hardscape of paving and sloped stone planters is balanced with an expressive palette of native California grasses and perennials that provide variety and texture throughout all seasons. The plaza redesign is more open to the adjacent streets while also creating a sense of security and enclosure for the garden rooms of the plaza. Dining on the plaza is enhanced with a new canopy with built-in heaters, an enclosed glass dining room, and permanent planters to complement outdoor dining.