Café at Civic Center
As part of an effort to renovate two children’s playgrounds on the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza, the Helen Diller Family Foundation, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), recognized an opportunity to build a program at this plaza and generate additional activity on site. Community-solicited feedback showed a strong desire for park amenities like improved seating, areas to relax and gather, and food vendors—hospitality-oriented services that would cater to the families visiting the site most often. WRNS Studio and a team of stakeholders including SF Recreation and Parks, the Helen Diller Family Foundation, and TPL, came together to design a commercial kitchen and street café at Civic Center Plaza.
Our design response plays upon the site’s existing palette of materials, textures, and tones, including considerations of size and scale, the historical nature of the site, natural and artificial light, and durability, all while focusing on service, friendliness, and accessibility. While a minimal, almost sculptural form on the plaza when closed, the kiosk’s gates open to reveal a transparent and welcoming kitchen at its heart.