Our March contest was all about Twin Peaks, one of the best vantage points from which to admire our city. It’s a regular stop on every tour bus route, and a must for visiting friends and parents. If you could redesign the public space on Twin Peaks what would you include? What would you remove, change, or what could be restored or preserved? How would people get up and down? What amenities do you wish were up there now that aren’t?
Our judges for March were Terri McFarland, a painter and Landscape Architect, and Sally Bentz, the planting manager for Friends of the Urban Forest. While looking through the many different ideas presented in the entries, our judges repeatedly pointed out that first and foremost twin peaks is a viewing spot, the highest point in the city. It doesn’t need to be a skate park to be excellent, and you don’t need to buy something, you actually can go up there and experience the city at your feet…which is a pretty impressive experience of its own. Now, for the winner.
Drum roll, please….
THE CLEAR WINNER – ENTRY 6370
JACOB KRAEMER – GLASS VIEWING HUTS
Both Judges were immediately drawn to this entry: “It’s quirky and functional, people would use it.” It’s elegant, useful, and multipurpose. The huts could even be used for projection, or have some sort of lighting. The judges wanted to see more than 2 of the structures but not as many as the submission suggests, because they would want them to read more as landmarks. “It’s reminiscent of the camera obscura” Terri said. “It could be a greenhouse that is partially warmed and used for native restoration projects.”
Our judges liked the huts sculptural qualities and opportunity for interactive art as well. The overall effect is one of a practical, beautiful combination of high-end architecture and fishing huts that highlights your position in the landscape. Pretty cool. Studies would need to be done regarding sight lines – both for what people inside the huts could see, and how the huts could be observed from below throughout the city.
They thought it would be cool if people got excited about the idea of heading up there in the rain because the huts were there. Watching the fog crash over and swirl around the huts would also be beautiful. One suggestion was not to make the huts too cozy so people wouldn’t stay in them for excessive periods of time. Keeping them as transparent as possible, and with open doors to facilitate movement seemed like good ideas.
The judges started envisioning the structures in a variety of sizes, some big enough for a group of people, some small enough to just fit a few people. The smaller huts aligned with their idea that there should be more spots for making out on twin peaks. Yes, our judges endorsed more spots for making out like teenagers on twin peaks. “There should be more making out in cars!” — and we concur wholeheartedly. Congrats, Jacob!
The rest of our Amazing Contenders:
Entry 8910 — Green Landmark Maze – Heather
“The labyrinth seems crazy but fun”
This entry made us think there must be an excellent way to combine native plant restoration, trail rehabilitation, and planting design to make this happen, albeit on a less busy scale than as drawn. Mazes are contemplative, and the view markers could be an opportunity for environmental education along the paths as well.
Entry 6562 — Amphitheater — Patick & Ilan
Sally really liked this one but Terri pointed out that it would be too cold to watch something atop the peak. “Even Dolores Park has had a hard time with doing outdoor movies”. The 4CSF team liked the idea of such a dramatic backdrop for stage shows – perhaps not a permanent fixture, but a pop-up theater night or music show could be really magic.
Entry 2727 – MonkeyBars — Will
We liked that the designer thought about funding and sponsorship ideas. The challenge/sport aspect would be great training and a local bragging rights highlight. We thought this idea might be a better subject for the April contest on Adult Playground equipment…perhaps the designer will revise and re-enter? hint hint…
Entry 6277 – Kite Concession & Geo Masks – Sean
Our judges thought it all ”seems kinda dangerous” (with reason!) but the 4CSF team loved the Geo Masks/ viewfinder / landmark translation tools that were suggested. Interpretive and interactive installations are clearly something that is desired up on TP. And Kites would be less likely to get tangled in trees here than in any park in SF.
Entry 1977 — Petting zoo, Hammock zone, etc. — Marci, Andy, Mason
The judges were not sure that adding things would necessarily keep people on site. The 4CSF team really thought that ‘Landmark Explainers’ were an excellent idea. Low profile historical/ecological/landmark information would be tremendously helpful for visitors trying to figure out what, exactly, they are looking at. And all practicality aside, hammocks are rad! Perhaps a guerrilla installation could be enjoyed in the future?
Entry 0010 – Slip & Slide – Susan
We admire your spunk, and would totally let you go first.
Entry 7890 – ! – French
4CSF loves the idea of an airplane throwing contest. It would be an awesome physics project for a class (the egg drop is so overdone). We are unclear on what inspired it, but elephants are always cool.
Entry 1912 – Four Part Fix It – Danielle
Fix the viewfinders? F*&$# YEAH! Hot chocolate concessions would be absolutely delightful up there, year round – if the sales could help fund habitat and trail work, we are aaaall for it!
Entry 4141 – Transparent Green Cafe – Claire, Alexandra, Helen and Elizabeth
The judges liked the design but felt it was too programed for how they like to experience twin peaks. It would have to be orientated in one direction, therefore cutting out too many view points. However, a car is basically a shelter with a transparent wall – lots of folks experience Twin Peaks from inside the comfort of their car. This design would give them a bit more room…and hot drinks!
Entry 6666 — Circulation — Scott
4CSF likes the idea of making a clearly designated area for bikes and pedestrians. While separating pedestrians and cars for safety is a good idea, there are views in all directions of twin peaks, and by segregating the flows, you might miss half the views depending on your mode of transport. There seem to be many people who want a clearly marked way to get up TP without a car.
Entry 1857 – los pechos de la chola — Julia
While we don’t want to see the wind turbines, finding a way to convert the wind energy available up there to practical use on site is really appealing. Maybe attach pinwheels (micro-turbines) to Sutro Tower? Put your thinking caps on S.F.!
Entry 1235 – BBQ+Skates – Roberto
4CSF likes the idea of there being additional reasons to remain on Twin Peaks longer and more comfortably. Finding the right fit to accomplish those goals is certainly worth thin
Both our judges agreed on the following:
1) The most common solution to the question of how to get to twin peaks was a funicular/gondola/ski lift. The judges felt it would be a fun option, but didn’t like what it would do to the wild feel of twin peaks.
2) Both judges disliked the idea of any businesses being up on twin peaks, perhaps a mobile hot chocolate cart but that’s it. “It’s a valued open space and should be kept as that.”
3)They felt the trails could use some restoration efforts and better signage. “If people want to interact more with the space they could get involved with restoration work.”
The SF Parks and Rec Department ran just such an effort on March 31st
If you would like to help out in the future, the Bay Nature events page lists many volunteer opportunities, including ones at Twin Peaks http://baynature.org/events/calview
Thank you to all of our awesome contestants, and a very special thank you to our lovely judges: Terri McFarland, Painter and Landscape Architect at Lutsko Associates and Sally Bentz, Planting Manager at Friends of the Urban Forest.