Emerging Islais Creek
A Study into Emergent Urbanism as a Response to Industrial Scars
Bachelor of Architecture Thesis Project
What is currently an industrial scar without connection to the local community was historically the site of Islais Creek, which used to stretch all the way to Bernal Hill. After the 1906 earthquake it was filled in with debris and turned into an industrial zone, concealing its ecological and agricultural past. As the Bayshore continues to conglomerate buildings with no inherent local identity or stake in the community, my thesis asks the question: What would it look like to reclaim agency on this site?
A local sewage line struggling with blackwater inundation provided the opportunity. The project proposes the start of water reclamation through both active and passive strategies before returning it to the Islais Creek Inlet. A series of tanks and osmosis filtration systems cycle the water into natural ponds or small fragments of the historic creek. These contain algae and other organic elements to treat the water, meanwhile fostering the growth of ecosystems in the area. Water passes further along the building and is used for both research and development on water purification technology as well as for local urban farming. The architecture undulates and creates conditions for large open sheds and more intimate protected moments.
Finally, the totally purified water fills a natatorium (community pool) in an area in desperate need of one, creating a focal point and attractor for locals. The pool is designed to have visual connections to multiple phases of the reconstructed natural landscape to engage users with the process. The landscape design is composed primarily of a boardwalk and other trails that bring users right up next to the wetlands and other features of reclamation. The experience is one of visitor engagement and not just building performance.