3 Clever Ideas To Re-Use San Francisco’s Aging Infrastructure

Why not turn Candlestick Park into an urban farm?

For the last time, fans will file into Candlestick Park on Thursday night for a Paul McCartney concert. Once home to both the city’s professional baseball and football teams, it will be the final public event for the San Francisco stadium before its slated demolition early next year, when it will make way for a new shopping district.


San Francisco-based IwamotoScott Architecture has another interesting, but mostly futile, suggestion: Why not reuse the stadium? In a speculative design they call SF RE:MADE, the architects propose up-cycling Candlestick Park and two other out-of-use waterfront landmarks, the Hunters Point Crane and the Islais Creek Silos, providing alternative uses for aging 20th-century structures whose original purposes have become outdated.

“They’re in the kind of collective psychology of San Franciscans,” Craig Scott, a founding partner of IwamotoScott, says of the three sites. “You see those structures from a long distance on the freeways or on the hilltops,” he explains. “They have this kind of status–at least visually–as landmarks along the eastern side of the city.”

Candlestick Park, the architects propose, could be turned into a hydroponic greenhouse surrounded by a terraced park. Its tiered structure, previously used for seating, could be used to grow sod and a rotating selection of crops. The main field could still host concerts in between harvests. Re-using the stadium, which opened in 1960, would not only save the structure from ending up in the landfill, but would also preserve what Scott calls its “interesting structural expression” in the face of the generic development planned for in its place.

The abandoned Islais Creek Silos could be repurposed as a research and production facility for 3-D printed building components. The silos, once used to store grain before it was loaded on ships, could easily be adapted to store raw material for 3-D printing. Other spaces inside would be carved out to form exhibition spaces (much like this art museum).


The Hunters Point Crane, a giant crane inside a closed (and contaminated) Navy shipyard that’s one of the city’s largest chunks of developable land, would become a digital innovation lab with meeting and event spaces. The gantry crane’s rolling mechanism, once used to load weapons onto ships, could instead be converted to create a movable pod system of rooms, in which spaces could be rolled together or pulled apart according to the requirements of different events or conferences.

These futuristic proposals were presented as part of AIA San Francisco’s exhibition Unbuilt San Francisco last year. As fascinating as it is to imagine how these Bay Area icons could be saved and adapted for future use, it doesn’t seem likely that these Candlestick Park plans will ever come to fruition. The city has already approved the plans for the new development, which will include new homes and retail space. However, there’s still hope for the other sites, where Scott says the crane and the silos “are just sitting there. They’re just sort of resting and crumbling away.” Rather than becoming derelict remnants of the city’s past, they could be turned into waterfront assets.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.