Journal

How a “Park in the Sky” Will Reshape San Francisco’s Skyline

September 6, 2017
Park in the Sky

Akin to a fingerprint, San Francisco’s skyline is complete with distinctive high-rises and inspiring Bay vistas. Yet, any fingerprint presents its limitations: the inability to transform, to recreate, to introduce new eccentricities. Here, within the heart of SoMa, this metaphorical fingerprint will soon defy all limitations and reimagine itself as, indeed, a green thumb.

The highly-anticipated Transbay Transit Center, San Francisco’s visionary transportation, and housing project, is poised to redefine the skyline with 5.4 acres of pristine parkland and a curated collection of rare trees—469, to be exact. Five stories high and 1,400 feet in length, the rooftop City Park will thoroughly reinvent the notion of elevated, sustainable living. While the space will showcase an array of amenities, including an outdoor amphitheater, restaurant and cafe, the stunning vegetation will make all else green with envy.

Despite questions regarding the future of the transit center, such as when it may connect to high-speed rail or which retailers will occupy its 100,000-square-foot interior, one answer remains clear: the City Park will captivate far long before the trains arrive. Designed by landscape contractor Patrick Trollop and architect Adam Greenspan, the glassed-in rooftop will be a natural skyline museum, replete with manicured gardens, trails, water features and foreign flora sourced from various destinations along the nation’s west coast.

Trollop and Greenspan have scoured nurseries for over a year, securing an assortment of trees including Chinese elms from San Diego, island oaks from Escondido, a single Columnar Hornbeam from Portland and numerous others. Presently, 60 trees have been hauled into the sky via cranes, with an impressive 409 to go. The 5.4-acre park will be, in essence, a botanical gallery divided amongst sections reserved for the many species. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Greenspan exclaimed, “I think there is going to be a tree for everyone. We have grand and stately trees, and we also have weird trees, quirky ones.”

Yet, in spite of its prospect as an enlivening natural wonder set high within the sky, the City Park will provide countless environmental and health benefits to both the city and its inhabitants. The rooftop will offer natural insulation for the interior spaces, regulating heat during warmer months and retaining heat during colder weather. A true living organism, the City Park will improve air quality by capturing and filtering exhaust from the cars below. Additionally, research shows that residents with access to green spaces in urban locales have improved general health, reduced stress levels, increased levels of physical activity and more.

And the best part? All of this lies just moments beyond your doorstep at The Harrison. Here, living isn’t of the typical garden variety—it’s rather comparable to the city’s soon-to-be botanical oasis.

Explore SoMa and all that The Harrison’s neighborhood has to offer here.

*Photos courtesy of Inhabit

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