Brainwash Plaza


A visioning strategy that reimaged spaces for cars as vibrant “sidewalk plazas” that enhance pedestrian-friendliness and create dynamic outdoor spaces for community engagement and urban amenities.


TIMELINE: 2006-2010
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
Client: Brainwash Cafe
Partners: CMG Landscape
Role: Project Director, Designer


The need for public open space in urban places like San Francisco’s South of Market are is not new. SoMa, as a light industrial/warehouse district, was not planned with open space in mind, and existing public spaces are limited in number, size, and accessibility.

Now the need for open space is even greater. But this is not only an issue of infrastructure; the lack of places in which the community can come together and thrive is a detriment to the neighborhood. The future health of this diverse urban fabric depends, in large measure, on finding creative ways to alleviate this need.

Brainwash Plaza was part of larger multiphase strategy in which the public right-of-way is converted to more productive uses. The cornerstone of the proposal are sidewalk bumpouts that could offer opportunities for small, yet dynamic public spaces. The goal of such “Sidewalk Plazas” was to make SoMa more pedestrian-friendly through targeted expansions of sidewalks that create new spaces for a variety of outdoor activities and urban amenities.

A project of Public Architecture.

Back to top Arrow