WRNS, in partnership with Chora, was one of three finalists invited by the Presidio Trust to develop a new cultural institution at the former Commissary Site at Crissy Field. Three proposals were considered: The Presidio Exchange (a park-based cultural center), Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (a museum sponsored by George Lucas) and ours, the Bridge. After a long process involving extensive community outreach, the Trust decided to postpone development of the site. What follows is our pitch for a cultural institution dedicated to social, environmental and economic stewardship. The Bridge will be a place to explore — through the lens of sustainability — the critical social, economic and environmental issues of our time. The Bridge will be a first of its kind — a hybrid museum, science and nature center; a living building; and a portal into the Presidio. Rotating exhibits will showcase today’s key challenges, from water conservation to labor practices. Lectures and public forums will give us an opportunity to work with local politicians to develop a coordinated, regional climate action plan. Parents will bring their children to learn about the wetlands restoration that helped regenerate this precious site. The cafe will offer food that was sustainably sourced, and the market will highlight each product’s environmental and social rating.
The Bridge will have a collaborative research arm called the Sustainability Institute. Housed in a local university, corporate center or non-profit organization, the Sustainability Institute will bring together scientists, writers, engineers, artists, CEOs, educators and politicians to pursue focused, thematic research on the key issues of our time. Work conducted at the Sustainability Institute will be shared with the public via exhibits, lectures, forums and screenings at the Bridge. Our goal is for the Bridge to be an exhibit in and of itself; a living place, a building and site that uses only the resources it can collect on site. It will store rainwater, capture solar energy, produce food, manage its own waste, provide wildlife habitat, and work to mirror nature’s cycles. It will provide a link to the place — a filter for the site — that helps visitors connect to the smells, sounds, and cycles of the environment. The project will be generous in spirit and space, with a quality that will accommodate change and reuse and, most importantly, holds the affection and continued investment of the community.