Gary Strang

Gary Strang

San Francisco, CA, US


Exploratorium Museum at Pier 15

The 2013 relocation of San Francisco’s beloved Exploratorium provided GLS with a rare opportunity: to create an entirely new public space on the city’s waterfront. GLS transformed an asphalt parking lot between two decrepit piers into a baywater lagoon, 2 acres of open space containing artworks and supporting infrastructure, and a series of bridges, promenades, and metalwork railings. Given the extensive seismic upgrade, the landscape scope was aligned with the structural engineering as much as with the architecture, and included the partial removal of the dock and the seismic reinforcement (or the partial removal) of the pilings below; giant new concrete pile caps further reinforce the pier and double as cisterns collecting rainfall used as gray water in the museum’s bathrooms and exhibits. At key junctures, the railings incorporate seismic joints, with telescoping hardware (springs, hinges, rollers) accommodating up to 4 feet of tidal or seismic movement. These features also uphold the museum’s mission of visualizing scientific principles. To satisfy curatorial needs for adaptable infrastructure, lines for water, data, and power are inconspicuous yet accessible to exhibition staff, and custom light poles adjust as needed.

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Status: Built