David Baker Architects

Gather Garden

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The Gather Garden has become a hub for various community uses, including these summer camp visitors.

The designers, Brad Leibin and Joel Millar, got a very thoughtful thank you from One Treasure Island during the Grand Opening.

DBA_Lab is our flexible research and experimentation studio. Interested in temporary and tactical explorations of the public realm, DBA_Lab undertakes small-scale and pro bono projects that engage urban space and user imagination.

Concept Vignette

The Treasure Island Ship Shape Community Center’s new Gather Garden is a pop-up gathering space for the Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island communities. This project was undertaken by DBA_Lab as part of our commitment to The 1+ (The One Plus)—Public Architecture’s pro bono design program that encourages architects to donate one or more percent of their work hours to projects for the common good.

Working with One Treasure Island, a collective of community-based organizations, DBA designed Gather Garden on an underutilized area adjacent to the Ship Shape Community Center.

Gather Garden activates and enlivens the 3,250-sf space with communal seating, garden plots, and art. The vibrant space will be in use until the area is redeveloped as part of the massive Treasure Island Development Project, which will eventually provide market-rate and affordable housing along with more permanent shared open space.


The Grand Opening. One Treasure Island's Executive Director, Sherry Williams, is speaking. Sherry and her team were such awesome clients!

Site grid.

Sectional concept.

The site is at the northeast edge of Treasure Island and is exposed to winds from San Francisco Bay.

DBA_Lab was inspired by the the challenges of designing a low-cost, temporary community space on the barren, wind-swept site. Our goal was to create a comfortable, colorful, inviting environment for people that would offer respite from the sun and wind.

In order to distinguish the space from the rigid street grid, rectilinear architecture, and horizontal surrounding landscape of the surrounding context, we used a circular geometric language and softened the flat ground plane with subtle berming and excavation.

Program areas.

Gather Garden provides three zones for community activity. The first is a large community table that can be used for group meetings, socializing, and casual events. A second adjacent area features a produce garden with planters and a large, funky, overhead catchment device to harvest rainwater for irrigation. Informal seating—built with donated used car tires—encircles a custom bubbling fountain and serves as the third zone and the focal point of the space.

Site plan.

Berms on the westward side—also built from used tires—shield the site from wind. These tire berms are tiered and planted to create a lush green wall, supplemented by shade trees.

Ship Shape floor plan: Supergraphic inspiration.

A team of volunteers painted a colorful graphic inspired by the geography of the island on the side of the community center to serve as a backdrop for the Gather Garden.
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Ship Shape supergraphic.

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The supergraphic on the side of the Ship Shape Community Center completes the circular pattern of the site plan.

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