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INTERSTICE Architects’ Sunset Parklet in San Francisco

Cesar Rubio

INTERSTICE Architects designed the Sunset Parklet, a public seating area between 44th and 45th Avenue in San Francisco, that consists of four strips that undulate along the length of the parklet, providing built-in seating, tables, and native planting. It includes a dog watering area with leash ties to assist dog owners, and a built-in bicycle rack and pump station to engage cyclists.


The 50 foot long site was conceptually divided into 4 equal 18” parallel strips which start aligned at the uphill eastern edge to create an MTA approved Bike Parking platform.  Like a coastal edge they continue flat, beach-like, until they suddenly diverge vertically to follow seemingly independent programmatic objectives.  Each of the four “street” strips undulate and double back upon themselves becoming seats,  lounge chairs, tables, benches,  planters, and accessible areas of ground and circulation along the entire length of the Parklet until they all reunite to form a raised planter that shields the windward western edge like the prow of an ancient long-ship.


Individual Strips rise and fall creating complex adjacencies as they pass each other enfolding opportunities for a wide variety of programs and a rich diversity of formal “readings”.   The final result is unique and exciting in its formal abstraction, while at the same time comforting and highly functional.   


From some angles it resembles a large barge, or freighter carrying its passengers to the nearby beach, while from the pedestrian approach, it offers a warm complex wood environment as a refuge from the concrete sidewalk in which to relax, play, gather with friends, tell stories, eat lunch, or simply occupy a quiet corner alone with a book surrounded by swaying native grasses.

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all images © Cesar Rubio