Tunnel Tops Landscape

Presidio Parklands, a.k.a. “Tunnel Tops,” is a 14-acre park spanning over the new Highway 101 (Doyle Drive) tunnels, reconnecting the Presidio Main Post with the San Francisco Bay again after 70 years. Conceived over 25 years ago, the project will now be realized through the design of landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, notable for New York City’s High Line, the Seattle Central Waterfront, and numerous other acclaimed projects worldwide.

OWNERThe Presidio Trust
LOCATIONSan Francisco


Expansive lawns large enough for kite flying, scenic overlook structures and a network of pedestrian walkways provide visitors with spectacular “postcard” views in all directions. Designed as a participatory space, there is a four-acre playscape for children, with themed vignettes featuring whimsical, bespoke play equipment crafted from natural materials. A fire pit with eight-foot boulders computer-carved to create intricate joinery, barbecue areas, and many other visually exciting and inviting amenities abound. Notes of special functional interest include: extensive use of lumber, log, and timber materials reclaimed from the Presidio’s forest; over 2,000 tons of regional boulders furnished and set, weighing up to 20 tons each; over 40,000 cubic yards of horticultural soil mixes imported, graded, and drained; an acre of decomposed granite paving and nearly 300,000 new plants, including a live willow fence. McGuire and Hester welcomes the local-business subcontractors and vendors that are a part of this effort.

The Presidio Trust is on the vanguard of preventative action to help stem the proliferation of water molds called Phytophthora, one of which is responsible for the catastrophic Sudden Oak Death Syndrome in California. Accordingly, all soils and plant materials must be certified Phytophthora-free prior to bringing them onto the project. Special sanitation and testing protocols employed by McGuire and Hester and our vendors, along with inspections and testing provided by the Trust’s staff experts and McGuire and Hester’s consultants, will ensure conformance.

McGuire and Hester assisted Swinerton Builders with budgeting Tunnel Tops since 2016, starting with early conceptual plans. We are very happy to have been selected as part of the construction team for the landscape, storm drain, and paving scopes. This park will be a new must-see destination in San Francisco for residents and visitors alike for generations to come.

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