Potrero Power Station

San Francisco, CA

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Image Credit: Hayes Davidson

Revealing the Historical Central Waterfront for Future Residents

A century ago, this station powered San Francisco’s electrical grid, enabling it to grow into the city it is today. Decades after being decommissioned, the industrial site is being redesigned as an activated mixed-use waterfront, serving a new generation in a newly developed neighborhood. Anchored by a one-acre waterfront park, the site features over 6 acres of parks and open space, a boutique hotel adapted from a former steam power facility, and community-serving restaurants, cafes, shops, and stores, all coming together to create a new San Francisco neighborhood along the waterfront. The design preserves the neighborhood’s heritage and historic structures through the reuse of the Power Station’s exhaust stack, conversion of its power block into a hotel, and creative adaptations of massive former industrial structures. As a model for community engagement and transparency, the Power Station is a resilient maritime destination that will provide jobs, economic development, housing, public recreation, and critical elements for the sustainability of the city.

The design framework for Potrero prominently features the project’s expansive waterfront access. All roads within this new neighborhood lead to the bay. The streets framework invites pedestrians and cyclists to Blue Greenway and Bay trail and park viewsheds capture open views across the bay and to the surrounding east bay hills beyond. Situated apart from the higher volume social uses of the project, is The Point – a new one acre waterfront park designed to give homage to the historic shoreline and how it has evolved over the last century. Simple in form, materiality, and program, the park has been designed as a counterpoint to the projects more active urban spaces. The park incorporates areas for informal discovery play elements, public art, social seating, picnicking, native bay plantings, and bird watching, all while being surrounded by 180-degree bay views that capture Downtown San Francisco, The Bay Bridge, and The East Bay hills. The park also includes a bay overlook pier that will be built upon an existing footprint of the decommissioned power plant water intake structure, allowing visitors to walk out over the bay and experience the bay, in a way that has not been done in over a century.

Image Credit: Hayes Davidson


The design at the power station responds to past and future conditions – from the layered landscape that responds to the character of the site to draw historical inspiration to the open spaces that prepare for the threats of climate change through water recycling, stormwater management, ecosystem improvement, and meaningful carbon sequestration. These new spaces are created for flexibility in future uses, indoor/outdoor connection, and collaboration. The result is innovative architecture, infrastructure, and landscape design that works together for multi-generational possibilities.