As part of the Architecture as Pedestal Exhibition put on by Sense of Place LAB and Sites Unse_en and held in the Presidio of San Franciso, we were invited to design an installation that would respond to the both natural and manmade environment of the Presidio. Vacant Lands 1, the first in a series of installations born out of the Vacant Lands Project, seeks to draw visitors’ eyes to an overlooked space—an abandoned playground with only the original sand and a bench remaining within it—and to the plant and animal life overflowing within it. To these ends, we designed and installed series of cloth pathways inspired by decaying and abandoned docks found throughout the Bay Area. Yet whereas docks rest above water, these pathways float over sandy soil in which self-sown grasses and perennials are attempting to secure a foothold. The pathways’ intentional forms and shapes frame the plant life, letting it shine, and ideally giving the space new legitimacy and value. This is our first landscape in which we have planted zero plants but have only used plants already growing within the space.

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The site for Vacant Lands 1 in late September 2016, before the installation. The Vacant Lands installation on the opening day of the exhibition, Architecture as Pedestal.
Another view of the Vacant Lands installation on the opening day of the exhibition. View of the installation and the surroundings it sits within. Photo courtesy of Laura Halsey Brown.