A runway for food trucks and fashion shows with the Golden Gate Bridge glittering in the background. Listening coves that amplify the sounds of San Francisco Bay. Fire pits and a bowl-shaped meadow overlooking Alcatraz Island.
Those were among the visions unveiled by five design firms Thursday for the 13-acre portion of Presidio parklands that will reunite the Presidio with Crissy Field for the first time since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937. Ten acres of the new parkland area will sit atop the tunnels concealing the formerly elevated Doyle Drive, which previously sliced through the Presidio.
"This project ... is about knitting together the two most public parts of the park experience," said Michael Boland, chief of planning, projects and programs for Presidio Trust, the federal agency tasked with transforming the land. "It is really about creating a heart for the Presidio."
Thursday also kicked off the Imagine Phase of the project, in which the public is encouraged to weigh in on the proposed designs as well as submit individual ideas. Proposals include new parklands atop the Presidio Parkway tunnel, a revitalized Crissy Field Youth Center campus, and reinvented Presidio Visitor Center.
The five design teams were chosen from 25 respondents to requests for qualifications in March, and given a stipend to develop a conceptual design and programming for the new landscape over the summer.
"We actually engaged with them during the process, so it's not a competition," said Noreen Hughes, project manager for the Presidio Trust. "It's very clearly about garnering the best ideas that would then spark a public dialogue."
The public can provide input on the various plans through the fall, and at least one of the firms will be selected by January to begin the next phase of conceptual design, according to Hughes.
Each proposal aims to take advantage of San Francisco's iconic sights visible from the Presidio, including views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Palace of Fine Arts and The City's skyline. The Presidio's history as a military post for more than two centuries is also incorporated into the plans, as well as ways to honor and engage the ecological aspects of the site.
"It's 13 new acres of parkland, perched about 30 feet above Crissy Field, with miraculous views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco and the Bay," emphasized Craig Middleton, the Presidio Trust's executive director. "It's an amazing place. It's iconic, it's miraculous, it's brand new."
Construction of the new parklands is expected to begin in mid-2016, once the Presidio Parkway is completed by late 2015. The new parklands construction is slated to be finished in 2018.
The proposed budget for the project is $50 million, approximately $30 million of which has been raised so far.