Project: SPS: Piers 15/17
At its new home on Piers 15 and 17, the Exploratorium features two acres of outdoors exhibits that explore the urban edge between the city and San Francisco Bay, supporting and expanding its role as a community museum dedicated to awareness. The collection of 40 exhibits is both playful and profound. A large number of them give voice to the landscape, making visible such forces as sun, wind, tidal currents, and rust, and calling attention to aspects of our built world. These exhibits expand the focus on noticing and observation we first explored at Fort Mason. Other elements in the outdoor spaces are aimed more directly at bringing people face to face with each other, enticing visitors to play together and share their delight in the stimulating environment.
Most of the Pier 15 site is free and open to the public 24 hours a day. A broad pathway completely encircles our main building, and a large plaza faces onto the Embarcadero, where thousands of tourists and locals pass by daily. These public spaces are constantly changing, populated by an evolving mix of temporary installations, programs, and public events. SPS works in-house with Exploratorium Explainers, program and exhibit staff, and with outside artists, vendors, and performers to enliven the plaza. These collaborations are an ongoing exercise in place-making that hones our sense of what constitutes a vital public destination. Building on this understanding, we hope to provide a flexible infrastructure that’s rich enough in possibility that our spaces become a vibrant center of civic activity and a venue for public discourse on a wide range of important matters.