San Francisco has been steadily adding to its fleet of parklets -- mini parks that replace former parking spaces -- and one of the most recent additions is a vintage Citroën H Van that has been deconstructed and reconfigured into a public seating area. The front and rear of the old truck remain intact, but the interior has been taken out and replaced with a 21-foot public seating area, complete with benches, a table, and several planters. The new parklet was designed by San Francisco-based design firm Rebar, and it's located in front of the Rapha Cycle Club in San Francisco's Marina District.
The old truck was donated by the Rapha Cycle Club, which had an old Citroën that someone had found “in a barn in France in the 1940s,” the Cycle Club’s John Maniquis told The Atlantic Cities. Beyond the symbolism of breaking a truck in half, Citroën has a connection to bicycle racing: it was once used to pick up cyclists who were unable to finish the course at races like the Tour de France. And because the new parklet was created by the Rapha Cycle Club, it is of course very bike-friendly, it also features ample bike parking.
Cyclists and pedestrians love the new parklet, but not everyone has been pleased with the new addition to the neighborhood. Although they received verbal approval, Rapha and Rebar installed the parklet before a permit had ever been issued. Although city planners and the Department of Public Works reviewed the design before it was constructed, the parklet didn’t get the official stamp of approval before it was built, and there was fear that the snafu could spell the demise of the unique public space.
For his part, city supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the neighborhood, doesn’t sound wild about the design. “I’d like something a little more neutral,” the supervisor told the San Francisco Chronicle. Farrell went on to suggest that the pieces of the old Citroen van be dismantled, but that the seating areas remain. So far, though, nothing has changed at the intersection of Fillmore and Flibert.
Photos © Mark Andrew Boyer for Inhabitat