Thanks to a $5 million donation from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and donations from National Park Service and Park Conservancy members, Lands End will soon be home to a brand new visitor center.
About 100 people gathered in the Terrace Room of the Cliff House on Wednesday night to hear details about the center, and offer feedback to the park service and project architects.
The new 2,500 square foot center will be called the Lands End Lookout, and will include 500 square feet of food service. A separate, 1,000 square foot building will house restrooms. The center and restrooms will be built on a triangular patch of land on the south end of the Lands End parking lot along Point Lobos Avenue.
The project design is in good hands. Architectural firm Esherick, Homsey, Dodge & Davis (EHDD) has years of experience with oceanside venues and leveraging the natural climate in their designs. They were the lead firm for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Sea Ranch houses back in the 1960s.
The Lands End Lookout will be located on this patch of land adjacent to the parking lot and Point Lobos Avenue.
New restroom facilities will eliminate the need for port-a-potties.
No formal plans or drawings for the visitor center were shared at the meeting. Instead, National Park service and EHDD staff shared the goals and visions they have for the center. Attendees were then asked to discuss some key questions to help inform the design development process: What does Lands End mean to you? How do you use Lands End? and What functions would you like to see at Lands End Lookout?
EHDD has a weighty task on their hands. Lands End is many things to many people. For some it’s simply a place to stroll and enjoy stunnings view while for others it’s a rich source of local history that includes San Francisco landmarks like the Cliff House, Sutro Baths and Sutro Heights Park. Still others think of it as a place rich with maritime and Native American history.
EHDD envisions the Lands End Lookout as “a touchstone for a network of places along the edge”, a starting point for visitors to begin their exploration of Lands End. And visitors don’t just mean tourists; according to a recent survey, 80% of visitors to Lands End are local to San Francisco.
Because the visitor center can’t be all things to everyone, the Park Service developed five themes to help guide the design process: Lands End’s history of recreation (think Sutro Baths, Camera Obscura, rides along Merrie Way, the Cliff House and its Sky Tram), the cultural landscape (who’s been part of the history of Lands End and the archaeology that has evolved), the natural landscape, the Native American presence of the Ohlone/Costonoa tribes that visited seasonally for nearly 3,500 years, and finally, Lands End’s identity as a National Park.
EHDD summed up their objective nicely for the new center: “A place that reflects the past, represents the present, and provides opportunities for future use of Lands End, its protection and enjoyment.”
Design development is slated to run through the summer, with construction documents to be completed by December 2010. Construction will begin in February 2011 with the Lands End Lookout opening its doors in Fall 2011.
The new visitor center and accompanying restrooms won’t fill the entire space along Point Lobos which was parceled out back in 1993 when planning for Lands End was underway. Future phases may include another 5,500 square feet of facilities.
If you’d like to receive regular email updates or have any questions about the Lands End Lookout project, contact Jennifer Greene Ringgold at 561-3054 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4:13 pm | Posted under Recreation
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