Russell Davidson

Russell Davidson

San Luis Obispo, CA, US


Flux: San Francisco Cruise Terminal

A site is in constant flux whether the changes are perceived over an hour or a lifetime. The water level of the San Francisco Bay is predicted to rise an estimated 55 inches within the next 100 years.  This change of half an inch a year is likely to go unnoticed by the general public until it affects more of the population in which it will be too late to mitigate problems and drastic changes will need to be made.

Humans have a habit of becoming accustomed to their environment, perceiving it as a memory rather than the reality.  Subtle changes are discarded until the effect is great enough to change behavior.  When looking at the rising water of the bay it becomes difficult to see because the tides by nature are always changing.  By integrating circulation and program with the movement of the tides an important, tangible element is linked to our memory.  The perception of spaces change as elements are exposed and hidden by the water’s movement.  Although the cyclical movement of tides allows for general predictions to be made about how the site changes over time, rising water levels and other unforeseen events will change the site in unknown ways and possibly make program inaccessible or create spaces that did not exist before.  Whether the change is short or extended the change alters perception and engages people with their surroundings.

A cruise terminal acts as a connection between the city and the bay creating a new node for arrival and departure from the city.  The current cruise terminal in San Francisco is in use primarily when a cruise is at port but has little use beyond that.  With only 63 days of cruises at port a year the building essentially acts as a barricade to the water for the public.  By removing surface parking and establishing a link between pedestrians and cyclists the building and plaza reopen the valuable area to the public throughout the year.

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Status: School Project
Location: San Francisco, CA, US