Headlands Center for the Arts

Sausalito, CA

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Image Credit: David Robert Elliot

Transforming A Gathering Space for Artists

The project transforms an unpaved parking lot and gravel pathway into a thoughtfully designed outdoor space for art and everyday use. The common space includes a new central plaza with outdoor amphitheater for performances and events, new pedestrian walkway connecting artist residency studios with the main public buildings, and a redesign of the public entryway into a more welcoming and accessible front door. The design resonates with Headlands’ overlapping cultural and natural histories, creates more social interaction, and carefully places the architectural elements in a way that allows them to be discovered as artifacts. The use of natural materials such as raw concrete, reclaimed wood, crushed stone paving, and native plants draws the larger landscape through the Commons site. Native plants, grown by the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy nursery and planted by volunteers, add beauty to the new landscape, frame major program spaces, and integrate the Headlands Center with the larger Marin landscape.

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The Commons is the latest installment in Headlands’ commissions program, which invites artists to reimagine the organization’s physical spaces as site-specific art projects, giving them new meaning while honoring their original designs and architectural integrity. In keeping with this rich legacy, The Commons incorporates three new permanent outdoor artworks: (1) Doubledrink by Nathan Lynch, (2) Welcome Terrace East & West by Ball-Nogues Studio and (3) Wall Space by Chris Kabel. Image Credit: Robert Herrick
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Image Credit: Tom Ide

The Commons creates new social and programmatic spaces that expand and enrich the Headlands experience for artists, staff, and visitors. The project is about community: providing new opportunities for neighbors and locals to gather and connect with each other and the art and landscape around them.