Design firm Cliff Garten Studio has unveiled a site-specific landscape sculpture for the U.S. General Services Administration's historic Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Entitled 'Ribbons', the courtyard design twists and elevates slender concrete paving strips into rhythmic pattern of planters and seating. A contemporary spin on a Beaux Arts courtyard, the newly upgraded design also incorporates various sustainable strategies as well as LEED gold certification.
The courtyard’s sculptural and symmetric shape reflects the classical design of the 1932 Arthus Brown building. Concrete paving ribbons curve out from each entrance in the courtyard and partition the landscape into straight, symmetrical layers of vegetation, seating, and paving. To reinforce the building’s main axial connections, two circular granite fountains punctuate the center of the gridded white birch tree groves.
Throughout the courtyard, elongated concrete paving ribbons rhythmically rise and twist into seating, before sinking back into a pervious surface of decomposed granite. Included as part of a green upgrade to the 50 United Nations Plaza Federal Building, the courtyard features a variety of sustainable design techniques. In addition to building with recycled materials, the courtyard landscape also minimizes water use with the installation of efficient drip irrigation.