A presentation to San Francisco’s Civic Design Review Committee has revealed renderings for a revamped Portsmouth Square in Chinatown, San Francisco. Much will be changed, though the most significant additions will be a new building and redesigned playground. The park is central to the district’s community as a gathering point and destination for those visiting. I have fond memories of my first time seeing 838 Grant Avenue’s imposing facade and circular windows, awakening my appreciation for the breadth of urban architecture. Reporting from KQED this May details the project’s years-long saga of incremental progress, concluding that this proposal’s future is uncertain. This new presentation in front of the CDRC represents new fuel for its realization.
Renovations will spruce up the 11,500 square foot public square’s overall appearance, including new green spaces and trees. A new community meeting space with large floor-to-ceiling windows designed for general use is conceivably the most considerable improvement in this proposal.
All space will be utilized in the park. A playground is located in one corner of the park, and small gardens are scattered throughout the park, which takes up the whole of the block. Shaded seating will be available for those looking to sit, a pleasant entry court will be included, and terrace seating will be built alongside the proposed structure. A proposed stage will face the plaza, providing affordances for many uses and community events.
While the park is much beloved and cherished, these overall renovations have been a request from the community for years, and will significantly improve it from its existing state. Residents nearby will benefit from its expanded green space and new community center. MEI Architects is responsible for the design.