The HighLink is a proposed pedestrian promenade and recreational space that would turn a section of San Francisco’s 280 Freeway into a vibrant new urban gateway. Chosen as one of the winning projects for the 280 Freeway Competition, which aims to redesign the freeway north of 16th Street, the design by architect Brian Vargo is a green overpass that offers recreational areas, parks, pedestrian paths and bike lanes with stunning views of the city’s skyline. The winners of the competition were announced last Friday at an opening party for AIA SF‘s Architecture and the City Festival.
The Highlink repurposes the existing structure by creating a public amenity that combines natural landscapes, recreational and gathering spaces, along with refuges for wildlife. The value of the existing overpass between Brannan Street and Irwin Street is preserved and transformed into a pastoral connection between the inner city and the heart of Mission Bay.
The project defines the two parcels suggested by the competition as a series of distinct spaces that flow along the same path and form a cohesive whole. A loose network of paths connect to the Mission Bay area below and the terraced rooftop gardens above. The promenade culminates with an enclosed pedestrian street rich with cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and other facilities.