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Located in downtown Oakland, Jack London Square is a popular entertainment, tourist and business destination on the waterfront.    For the last 14 years, the square has been going through a series of transformations to activate this area into a modern mixed-use urban waterfront.

In 2011, TS Studio was commissioned for a series of public space interventions at Jack London Square.  Conceptually our design transformed hard underutilized plazas into active public spaces through a diverse programming mix and more green.   Through public space activation the vacant buildings were able to attract tenants and transform the space into one of the most active areas of the waterfront.

As part of the revitalizations at Jack London Square, TS Studio transformed an underutilized plaza into a playground surrounded by native and drought tolerant gardens. Adjacent the bay, this windy waterfront site is protected by a proposed grove of drought tolerant trees. An expansive folded lawn extends from the lower level promenade to the on-structure plaza and playground area, providing a space for play and picnicking with views to the bay.  Native and drought tolerant gardens transform the playground into a low maintenance self-sustaining healthy urban ecology. 

A Performance Green transforms an on-structure, underutilized hardscape plaza into a soft amphitheater set around an existing public art sculpture and fountain. The folded lawn forms a comfortable seating terrace, varying in height for different ages and postures, while an integrated bench provides views to the existing stage and performance area. The sculpted lawn with corten steel edge integrates seamlessly into the existing context—the amphitheater stairs and renovated fountain. This intervention transforms the area into a modern terrace that looks out towards the Foot of Broadway plaza—the waterfront site for Oakland’s Christmas tree, weekly farmer’s market, and year-round events.

CLIENT: Jack London Square Ventures | Port of Oakland | Ellis Partners

TYPOLOGY: Roof Garden | Retrofit | Waterfront | Playground

SIZE: 20,000 SF

LOCATION: Oakland, California

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