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Environment: Natural & Built An exploration of spatial experience

Eric Fura Arch 101 Spring 2012


Built Environment- Jackson Square


Left: Cobble stone streets provide a sense of history, like you are stepping on a part of the past.

Right: Above the street level, a pathway is created between the high rise and the individual dwellings below. The planter forms a node in which one can sit and take in the scenery.


Left: In the courtyard above a shopping center, this formal row leads you down a path that will eventually take you to the park. It hints at what is coming up but is rather stark like the buildings it leads you out of.

Right: This bridge leads from a parking garage to the apartment level of the neighboring building. It almost feels like a bridge connecting tree houses, keeping you safely above the forest floor- or in this case, the street.


Left: The end of a bridge, spills you out into the center of the park from one place of safety to the next.

Right: View of the same bridge from inside the park. The park provides green space for the apartments across the street and is easily accessible by the bridges. People use this area to picnic, exercise, walk pets, and enjoy a beautiful day outside- All within close proximity to home.


Top: This artwork stands at the intersection of a street with limited access and a busy cross street. It welcomes you into the park area and frames a view that leads your eye down towards the greenery in the background.

Bottom: A view of the park from across the street. The scale of the archway and the brick material it is made from remind me of an old Roman ruin. This is also because it stands alone, suggesting it is the last surviving piece of what used to be something much more grand.


Left: Another “spillway” in to the park, from the opposite side as the other. Even though it is made of different materials and follows a different form, it mirrors the same action as the structure on the other side. Right: A pathway across the street from the park and in between two office buildings entices the passer-by to follow it. Its mysterious because it’s winding walkway blocks your view from the end. The foot bride above gives it a playful feel, I wanted to run and find a way to get up there.


Left: This giant tree makes you feel quite small and provides an instant natural environment right next to the building beside it.

Right: Even though the redwoods are large themselves, and their scale makes you realize how tiny we are, the building rising far above them, puts them into a smaller reference and establishes it’s dominance over the surrounding area.


Top: This green area is a surprise to be found. From the street, you are unable to see what is above until you climb some stairs and explore what’s happening between the buildings. Once you find this little gem, it’s hard no to get excited about what you’ll find next.

Bottom: This water feature is an interesting intersection of natural elements and man made materials. The pond seems to have eroded away at the pavers, while on the other hand, you could see the pavers encroaching on the water in a methodical pattern.


Top: Another view, framing the Transamerica building. The sheer size makes you stare in awe.

Bottom: View of a courtyard from inside one of the Embarcadero Center buildings. This transitional space acts as a portal between the inside of the building and the green space on the other end of the bridge.


Top: The bricklike pattern this greenery has been planted in, is another merge of the natural world and our built environments.

Bottom: The seemingly endless bridges connect almost every building on the second level for several blocks. There are multiple choices at every corner and it makes you want to explore each and every one of them. It’s almost a labyrinth of sorts.


Natural Environment- Coastal Trail


Left: The sharp cliffside reminds you of the danger of hiking so high above the beach level. Its crumbling appearance gives you an uneasy feeling.

Right: Isolated from the shore, these rocks make me want to build a raft and find a way to get out to them.


Left: This natural ladder was formed by roots and begs you to climb to see what’s on the other side.

Below: A fallen tree bends this man made barrier over, witch ruins the fence, but creates a bit of a shelter underneath. At the very least, it’s something fun to navigate through on the way down the path.


Top: All of the branches on these trees bend and intertwine into a wavelike pattern. Reminds me of building forts as a child, wherever something like this would occur was a potential structure that we could cover with leaves and hideout in.

Bottom: Strong winds on the shoreline blow the sand around forming these beautiful carvings. Its almost an alien landscape right here on the beach.


Above: The elements have worn away this stone to a smooth surface, and they appear to be sinking into the very sand that melted them away. It makes you wonder how long it took for them to be shaped like this.

Left: As you travel down the shore line, around every corner there is something to discover. What are the dark areas creeping around the corner? Will I discover a cave?


Left: Most likely tossed about by the waves and worn into these smooth shapes, the rocks in this little cove seem out of place as if someone arranged them compared to the more jagged walls around them.

Right: From inside the cave, the view of the bay and the surrounding land seems like a painting. And while it’s fun to explore for a short time, the cold cave is less welcoming than the beautiful view outside.


Left: The path winds up the sharp incline, and the way the vegetation grows sideways off the ground makes you a little dizzy.

Below: With no railing between the path and this sharp drop-off, you cling to the inside of the trail to avoid falling to your doom.


Left: This opportunistic ivy grew on a trellis of low growing branches and formed a natural lean-to.

Right: A spectacular view created by mother nature as the land meets the sea and opens up into the vast ocean. You can’t help but pause and take it in.


Above: The trail opens up into this meadow-like area after winding through some dense growth and lets the sun pour in. It’s the perfect spot to sit down and have some lunch.

Left: A change in vegetation gives a whole different feel to the area. Instead of dense pine trees, I’m surrounded by these tall sparse trees that filter in the sunlight and make it a more welcoming environment.


Above: Years ago, an electric railway used to run along the coastline, now all that remains are some of the concrete retaining walls that lead you along the trail. After being in the woods for much of the trail this structure reminds you of how close civilization really is.

Right: As if the frame the view, this ruin juts out towards the ocean and beacons you to the edge.


Top: This tree line follows the line of where the hillside would go if it continued to climb. Below are the ruins of Sutro baths, the natural cove protects the area from some of the wind and waves, while providing a view of the bay and the ocean.

Bottom: When you finally make it the Cliff house, you are rewarded by reaching ocean beach. The whole journey has hinted that something grand is right around the bend and when you finally get to the last bend, you see that it’s true. Everything opens up and there are miles of beach in front of you.


Unfortunately, it’s not a good day to hang out on the beach.


Environment: Built & Natural