The Excelsior neighborhood is one of the most diverse & multi-generational communities in San Francisco, and is home to the oldest neighborhood/corridor action groups in the city. The Excelsior Action Group approached AfH-SF to help reimagine the facade of their library along Mission Street. An active center for all ages, the Library runs after school youth programs, provides computer education for the elderly, and is a bustling environment for families. The Library staff and patrons asked AfH-SF to envision a scheme that incorporated seating, planting, and color - and could be built over a community work weekend by the neighborhood. The design also had to encourage graffiti abatement, provide short-term seating/waiting (i.e. no sleeping or loitering), low maintenance landscaping, and speak to the vibrant cultures of the neighborhood. The project also includes the addition of a series of murals along the north side of the building. Five neighborhood artists have each been commissioned to paint a panel of the mural.
Through several brainstorming session, the design team came up with a plan that uses stacked CMU, wood boards, tiles to create the seating areas; and, larger wood planter boxes under the facade's windows. The Boys & Girls club will design no smoking signs and help decorate some of the tiles - reinforcing a sense of ownership towards the project, and hopefully discouraging vandalism in the future.
In October the design was presented to the neighborhood at a community forum and during the Sunday Streets Festival. Everyone loved it!
Currently, we are in the process of seeking the final City approvals and preparing drawings for permits. The next exercise is to begin sourcing (donated) materials, additional funding, and working with the supervising contractor to ensure a smooth, safe community work weekend.