India Basin Waterfront Jury Selects Landscape Architecture Team to Design Shoreline Parks

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and the Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the San Francisco Parks Alliance announced today the winner of a design ideas competition, to develop the concept design for 900 Innes and India Basin Shoreline Park, along the India Basin shoreline. The competition, sponsored by a generous donation from Build Inc., called for proposals to reimagine the two sites as part of a spectacular and seamless 1.5-mile-long network of public parks on the City’s southeast shoreline. A jury composed of design professionals and community representatives, with the oversight of a design competition advisor, reviewed the design idea submissions and selected Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). GGN is an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm whose portfolio includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle, the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago, North End Parks in Boston, the civic park at Hemisfair in San Antonio, Texas, and several projects with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“As our City continues to grow, we are committed to the sustainability of our City by making investments in parkland that enhance our world class waterfront,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “I’m pleased with the progress of the India Basin Waterfront that ensures a legacy for future generations to come.”

A public-private planning process called the India Basin Waterfront Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan is underway to ensure that park properties being developed along the 1.5-mile shoreline eventually look, feel and operate as a coherent, comprehensive, and integrated parks system. To help guide the Waterfront Plan, Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisor Malia Cohen and Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg launched a 30-member task force committee representing a diverse array of community and citywide stakeholders, as well as all of the property owners, which in addition to Rec & Park, includes the Port of San Francisco, Build Inc, Lennar Urban and PGE. After an open call which elicited proposals from 19 different design teams, the task force narrowed the pool to five teams, from which GGN was selected.

“We are honored to be entrusted to work with India Basin’s neighbors and visitors, to enhance the things that people already treasure about this gem of a site,” said Shannon Nichol, founding principal of GGN. “India Basin includes a rare expanse of original tideflats and preserved boatyard architecture. Our approach to the competition further softened the shoreline, added walking routes across Innes Avenue between the water and the neighborhood, and sized the park’s spaces for everyday activities. We look forward to working with the community to test and hone that initial approach with the full input of neighbors and the people who will be using this park every day.”

Located in a long-neglected corner of the City, on a post-industrial site with few amenities nearby, India Basin offers a chance for the City to address issues of environmental justice, equity and inclusion in parks and open space for the India Basin and greater Bay View Hunters Point communities. Furthermore, as one of the City’s last remaining natural wetlands, it is a critical habitat for a variety of native species. GGN will have a unique opportunity to design a 21st-century legacy park in a partly wild, post-industrial, historic waterfront context, with an emphasis on public access, recreation, resiliency, and habitat enhancement.

“This is a key step in our efforts to build parks that meet the needs of an increasing population. I’d like to thank all of our partners and the community task force for their input and the jury for carefully and thoughtfully reviewing the design proposals,” Ginsburg said. “This project is a unique opportunity to develop the India Basin shoreline into a distinguished waterfront park system that provides neighbors and residents across the city needed access to India Basin’s special natural area, water and parkland resources, as well as new recreational opportunities.”

Five basic programmatic elements were required of the proposals, including continuous connector trails, bike paths, increased access to the shoreline, and enhanced habitats and gathering spaces. Additionally, the submissions required the restoration of the historic Shipwright’s Cottage at 900 Innes. The cottage will be restored for use as a cultural and educational center, as well as a concession space. In addition, the new park will provide new recreational opportunities such as human-powered boating.

“The India Basin Waterfront project is more than just open space. It is a gateway to a new and exciting climate resilient park and trail system that will offer greater recreational access to the residents of Bayview Hunters Point, and bring, new visitors into the area each year,” said Gina Fromer, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “India Basin has been a hidden treasure waiting to be developed. The Trust for Public Land is honored to be a part of this transformative process that will bring the community’s connection to nature, even closer, to where they live and play.”

“Build is proud to be the private catalyst that helped bring this exciting and innovative public-private partnership together,” said Michael Yarne, a principal at Build Inc. “Together with our partners, Build is excited to co-design a 21st century model of long-term stewardship for the future India Basin shoreline park network.”

“At India Basin we have a historic opportunity to build a park that is both beautiful and crucial to the health of our southeast communities. For too long, these neighborhoods have not had access to the parks they deserve,” said Matt O’Grady, Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. “We are thrilled that the City and all of the partner organizations are working together to address this critical need for San Franciscans.”

This initiative is part of a larger, community-driven vision for the integrated development of all publicly accessible parks, trails and open space along the India Basin. Other India Basin property owners, including the Port of San Francisco, PGE and Lennar Urban have also joined this effort to ensure that the park properties eventually look, feel, and operate as an integrated parks system.

For more information about this initiative, please visit

GGN’s design submission can be found here: All images (including those attached) should be credited to Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). For high-resolution images, contact

About the GGN Competition Team:

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) is the landscape architecture firm and lead designer for the India Basin Waterfront Parks Design Ideas Competition. The GGN competition team includes Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), civil engineer specializing in water resource strategies; Rana Creek, ecological restoration designer; Greenlee and Associates, horticulturalist specializing in meadow design; Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, historic preservation architects; and Alta Planning + Design, transportation planners.

GGN is based in Seattle, Washington. Recent and current work includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture, CityCenterDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, and Seattle’s Pike-Pine Renaissance Streets Plan. GGN was the recipient of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Architecture in 2011. The firm’s project awards include ASLA National Awards of Excellence, ASLA and AIA Honor Awards for Design, Tucker Design Awards, and Great Places Awards from the Environmental Design Research Association.

For more information about GGN, please visit


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