Mission Bay Master Plan


The new 43-acre Mission Bay campus for the University of California San Francisco will differ from traditional collegiate campuses. The institution consists of graduate students and research faculty (who live off campus), specific types of scientific activities (concentrated during daytime hours), and a single predominant building type (laboratories). These unique issues and the particular conditions of the site shape our master plan. The site should clearly be urban. By maintaining the San Francisco street grid, the master plan most effectively integrates the campus with the city’s fabric, while providing flexibility for future growth. In addition, strong modifications to this grid enable the master plan to produce a distinct sense of place and identity for the campus. In order to structure a campus that enhances human interaction and community, we developed three different scales of public spaces, linked together by pedestrian routes that structure sequences of campus movement. The first type of public space includes three spaces at the scale of the campus and city. A paved urban plaza with commercial activities is defined at its edges by an arcade and a line of plane trees. A large green lawn constitutes the heart of the campus, edged on one side by the Campus Center and punctuated by the iconic Administration Tower. A series of athletic courts form another space that helps to foster interaction among the campus, the high school, and the surrounding community.

The second type of public space includes various quadrangles at the scale of the campus block. These are garden-like spaces maximizing public interaction between a pair or trio of buildings. These quadrangles contain diverse garden types, ranging from a grove of trees to a fountain, an Asian garden to an herbal landscape, etc. The third type of space comprises semi-public terraces at the scale of the building. Every laboratory building has at least one terrace, court, or outdoor room carved from its overall mass and surrounded by offices, lounges, and academic community spaces. The image of each space will be varied, where some will be glazed, others open, some shaded by trellises, others capped by floors above, etc. The image of the buildings will relate to the city of San Francisco (whose distinctiveness we wish to enhance) and to the UCSF institution (conveying its prestige and representing the forward-looking research being conducted here). This will be achieved by working with intensely-colored building volumes (expressed in materials such as cast stone, masonry, and wood) as well as by encouraging technologically inventive detailing (to represent the innovative nature of scientific activity) and a sense of visual transparency (to make the workings of the institution understandable and visually accessible to the public).

Year: 1997-1998
The Bay Area Life Sciences Alliance
San Francisco, CA

  • Print