The two-acre site for Sydney G. Walton Square was designed by Peter Walker of Sasaki, Walker and Associates as part of the Golden Gateway Center, a 20-acre urban renewal site in downtown San Francisco. In addition to office buildings, the center houses apartments and condominiums, as well as landscaped areas. The square serves as the neighborhood’s central green space. Walker designed the park to suggest an alpine meadow surrounded by mountains, with the park itself representing a meadow while the “mountains” are the skyscrapers behind. Open stairways connect to elevated townhouses and courtyards, and a series of grass mounds and interrelated paths create a central flow, with flowering cherry trees, willows, and poplars.
Since initial construction, many diseased pines, willows and poplars have been removed, including a zen-like circle of poplars surrounding a large granite rock. The park is currently a popular spot for lunch for people working in the Financial District.
SWA, Sydney Walton Square: http://www.swagroup.com/project/sydney-g--walton-square.html
Sydney Walton Park, courtesy of SWA
Sydney Walton Park “Fountain of Four Seasons”, courtesy of Flickr user orphanjones
Sydney Walton Park, courtesy of Flickr user AnotherSaru
Golden Gateway, 1965, courtesy of San Francisco Public Library
The developers were required by law to set aside $1 million for public art, and the Francois Stahly cast Bronze Fountain of Four Seasons sits as the centerpiece of the park.
The entire Golden Gateway Center utilizes plazas, staircases, and courtyards as respite from the noise of the urban environment, but Sydney G. Walton Square acts as a valley within the surrounding looming skyscrapers of downtown.