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Walklet is in! Rebar’s newest Pavement to Parks project hits the ground on 22nd Street in San Francisco

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We’re covering this a little late on our own blog, but in case you haven’t caught on a posting elsewhere, Rebar’s prototype for modular, extensible, iterative public space in the parking lane is now in use in the Mission District. This is the latest installation for San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program. See it for yourself at 22nd Street and Bartlett Street, in front of Cafe Revolution, Escape From New York Pizza, and Lolo.

Perhaps these guys say it best… Streetsblog SF, San Francisco Chronicle, the Design Blog, Yelp, Trendhunter Magazine, PSFK. And we also say it on the SFMOMA’s blog.




We are developing “Walklet”–a plug-and-play system that makes it easy to instantly create a pedestrian public space in a parking lane (which San Francisco is developing a new permit for as we write). Retail inquiries welcome as we are going into production now. Email us through the product’s new website.

Written by Blaine

June 13th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Introducing City Grazing and Rebar-The Goat

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City Goats climb, chew and entertain.

City Goats climb, chew and entertain.

Along Cargo Way in southeastern San Francisco, a herd of 80 goats lives on a 10-acre site ringed by the SF Bay Railroad and a cement recycling plant.

City Grazing, the local “rent-a-goat” service, introduces an alternative to weed control and land restoration. Currently, the goat herd is outgrowing its existing shelter, which consists of a series of shipping containers and feed structures.

To accommodate herd growth, improve living conditions for the animals, and to make caring for them easier for their human guardians, Rebar has developed an economical solution that simultaneously references the shelter’s industrial location and uses a variety of repurposed, prefabricated materials. This efficient, low-impact accommodation will serve this herd of urban goats for many generations to come.

Proposed Shelter design includes re-purposed shipping container, K-rail highway separators and W-rail highway guardrails.

Proposed Shelter design includes re-purposed shipping container, K-rail highway separators and W-rail highway guardrails.

On Earth Day weekend  SFBR welcomed the new members into the herd and hosted a “Goat Naming” party. Few city goat representatives were sent to graze and entertain at Heron’s Head Park EcoCenter opening, where they got plenty of  love from the visitors. All black with a white stripe, one goat in particular was destined to represent the Rebar studio across the great goat-trodden lands of San Francisco.

Young Rebar is looking foward to new shelter and an abundance of sites to graze, plus plenty of play time with his buddies: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Spike, Frisco, Fudge, Noodle, Poopsie , Marshmallow and Columbo. If you see him out and about in the city, be sure to say hi.

For more pictures go to our Flickr Set.

All black with a white stripe this baby goat was destined to be Rebar's new mascot.

All black with a white stripe this baby goat was destined to be Rebar's new mascot.

David Gavrich talks about his herd.

David Gavrich talks about his herd.

Rebar is grazing at Heron's Head Park.

Rebar is grazing at Heron's Head Park.

Young fans get the goats back home at the end of the day.

Young fans get the goats back home at the end of the day.

Written by Rebar

April 27th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Designing Ecology: The Año Nuevo Island Restoration Project

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Aerial view of Año Nuevo Island, off the coast of Santa Cruz, California

Aerial view of Año Nuevo Island, off the coast of Santa Cruz, California.

Rebar is very excited to be collaborating with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, an extraordinary international conservation biology non-profit organization, to design some habitat restoration elements for Año Nuevo Island, a marine environment heavily altered by human intervention, and one of only four island systems off the coast of California.

From 1872 through the 1940s, Año Nuevo Island was an operative Coast Guard lighthouse station, and it seems like it was a pretty cushy gig: In addition to a steel frame lighthouse, island infrastructure included a Victorian mansion, outbuildings, an elaborate non-native garden, a cistern and a rail system. In 1948, an automated buoy replaced the lighthouse, the island was effectively abandoned by humans, and the “natural” world began its inexorable reclamation process. But the island still carries the evidence of successive human interventions: The lighthouse has collapsed into a rusting steel hulk, the cistern has fractured. The Victorian home is actually faring pretty well, under the circumstances.

The lighthouse stattion, 1953

The Coast Guard lighthouse station, circa 1953.

The house, circa 2008

The house, circa 2008.

The Lighthouse, circa 2008

The Lighthouse, circa 2008.

Our client: The Rhinoceros Auklet. Photo by Frank Balthis.

The Rhinoceros Auklet. Photo by Frank Balthis.

The current ecological dynamics of the island have substantially degraded the habitat of two burrowing seabirds, both of which are state-listed “species of concern” — the Rhinoceros Auklet and the Cassin’s Auklet. The marine terrace soil that composes the center of the island is rapidly disappearing due to extensive landscape alterations during the “lighthouse” era, natural erosion, and sporadically high California sea lion densities. The approximately 300 breeding Auklets that rear their young in underground burrows depend upon undisturbed soil and soil-stabilizing vegetation. If left untouched, the habitat for these Auklets will degrade further until it is no longer a viable breeding ground. This is where we come in.

Led by Oikonos, a cross-disciplinary team of ecologists, habitat restoration experts, artists, designers and government agencies are collaborating to restore the degraded habitat for these nesting seabirds. Once the habitat has been successfully protected from marine mammal incursion, the team will rehabilitate the native plant community to reduce erosion, provide sustainable Auklet breeding habitat and, ultimately, increase the biodiversity of this unique island ecosystem.

Room for improvement: The current Nest Module design.

Room for improvement: The current Nest Module design.

The Año Nuevo Island habitat restoration project includes two main design elements. To separate the sizeable sea lion population from critical bird breeding areas, Rebar is designing and constructing a series of Habitat Walls at strategic locations around the island. In addition, to facilitate the seabird species nesting and breeding while the native flora restoration is ongoing, Rebar will develop a system of Nest Modules to replace the current human-made modules, which are constructed from plywood and PVC plastic piping.

To develop the Nest Modules, we are teaching a interdisciplinary design course through the ENGAGE program at the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts. The course will be taught through the Ceramics Department with Nathan Lynch, the department chair, a very talented artist and, as you can see by his fine art work, just the perfect artist for a bird habitat project such as this.

We are excited to harness the design talents of CCA students to help solve this challenging design problem. We will also be investigating the role of the artist and designer in helping structure or mediate interpretations of “nature” and “restoration ecology” within a broader framework of the environmental movement, human interactions with natural landscapes, ideas of wilderness, the nature preserve, national parks and so forth. Basically, it’s another look at how human imagination and systems of regulation, organization and control are implemented in the landscape. It’s very Rebar.

We’ll post more as the project develops.

Until then, please check out the Año Nuevo Island Restoration Project website.

Stay tuned!

Written by Matthew

January 8th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Rebar gets Gigantric on Hunters Point

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It’s official–Rebar has been selected by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to create artwork for the new Hilltop Park at Hunter’s Point, in San Francisco, CA. The new piece, which we call Gigantry in honor of its gigantically miniature proportions, is a smaller version of Hunter’s Point’s iconic, 500-foot high gantry crane for servicing battleship guns–a feature that can be seen for miles around the Bay Area. Gigantry can be climbed on, turning the symbol of warfare (and the cultural dominance of the former Navy base) around to serve the playful impulses of human beings, especially the little ones. In our proposal we explained that Gigantry — in conjunction with the environmental remediation going on at the Navy Shipyard

is intended to signify the beginning of a process of social remediation, symbolically confronting this troubling legacy and reclaiming a visual landscape that has been dominated for decades by military infrastructure.

One interesting fact about the gantry crane is that 200-foot tower on top was used to test missile launches over the San Francisco Bay in the 1950s. Essentially, dummy missiles (that is, ones without nuclear warheads) were tethered to the tower with a length of cable so that they wouldn’t careen into the city of Oakland. How times have changed: in addition to its climbability, and we think this is quite neat, Gigantry can perfectly occlude the giant gantry crane, creating a kind of optical illusion that, we hope, transform children into building-dominating supermonsters. Or at least make them feel that way.

More on the Hunter’s Point art program is here, and there are pictures of the site and the gantry crane here and here. We’ll take the sculpture into production this year and will be installed by Summer 2011.

Written by Blaine

January 2nd, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Off tha Rails

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Rebar recently developed a proposal (an awesome proposal, we think) for art at the transit hub of Church and Duboce streets in SF at the invitation of the SF Arts Commission. The basic idea was to re-use the streetcar rail that is being torn out as a part of the streetscape redesign and manufacture them into abstract, industrial street furniture for use by the patrons waiting for Muni. From the propsoal description:

Off the Rails is a re-use and re-imagining of the venerable rails that have kept Muni trains moving through Duboce Triangle for the last 40 years. Light rail tracks—recycled from the construction project that is re-shaping the streetscape—are transformed into gestural art pieces that define the space of the boarding island, offer a grounding point for commuters to pause and rest against, and create a distinctive gateway element for the neighborhood. They are reminders of the mutability of infrastructure and their clean, industrial lines speak to the brawn of the commuter system that makes Duboce Triangle the transit-first residential nexus and a model for neighborhoods across the city.

The three sculptures are composed of six stacked rails each, approximately 15 feet long, rising obliquely out of the boarding platform almost as if they were lifting themselves out of the pavement, then diving back into the ground again. Suddenly along their length, the parallel rails bend, separating and converging to create sculptural “moments”: a seat for one, a plank to lean against, a place to tie your shoe.

Now while the idea wasn’t ultimately picked by the SF Arts Commission (congrats to Primitivo Suarez-Wolfe, who was selected for the commission), we thought we’d post it here until it finds a home somewhere…for real, we’d love to see some old rail re-bent into a new transit station somewhere. Until then, you can read our public proposal here.

Written by John

December 3rd, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Rebar’s ‘Showplace Triangle’ Pavement to Parks project: video on Babelegum by Kelly Loudenberg

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Written by John

November 15th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Press,Projects

Prototyping for Año Nuevo

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Buffeted by rain and wind the last few weeks, we haven’t been able to get down to Pescadero, CA, to begin building full-size prototypes of the “habitat ridges” we are designing for Oikonos, a wildlife conservation organization working on Año Nuevo Island. Until last week. The sun broke through and we began testing “the hull” design. We are building it on the mainland, where we have access to tools (and the wildlife is absent). This design will span the isthmus on the island.



(Photos: Masha Slavnova)

Which is not too bad a scaling-up of the original model (base is the shape of the isthmus):


The ridge designs we’re testing are constructed from eucalyptus harvested from a conservation trust area near Pescadero. Eucalyptus is abundant, and invasive, in California, and if they prove usable for the ridge designs we will be solving two problems at once.

More on the habitat restoration project, and Año Nuevo, here.

Written by Rebar

October 14th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Process,Projects

Rebar’s Pavement to Parks plan featured in Streetsblog

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Our sketches and plans for what we’re calling Showplace Triangle were featured yesterday in a great post by Matthew Roth over at Streetsblog SF.

Rebar was chosen for the Lower Potrero site of the city’s new Pavement to Parks plan, and will donate its time and labor to turn a redundant road near Wolfe’s and Axis Cafes into a new type of communal public space. A street no longer but also not a park, the strip of road on 8th street between 16th and Wisconsin will be transformed to cater to the neighborhood, offering plaza-style seating, greenery, windbreaks, bike parking and an air of playfulness.

Check out the article to read about the program and what Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works thinks of the whole thing. We’ll be updating the blog with more on the process and development of this rapid-pace project, so stay tuned: street closure will happen in late August, with installation to be completed by Labor Day of this year!

Written by Rebar

August 5th, 2009 at 2:07 am

Posted in Press,Process,Projects

Panhandle Bandshell’s new summer home at Fort Mason

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Panhandle Bandshell rises again at Fort MasonRebar and the Finch Mob are delighted to announce that the beloved Panhandle Bandshell is back with its old charm, some new materials, and a view of the Bay!

The refurbished back wall was made entirely from materials found at Fort Mason, and the bandshell stage will be programmed with fun kid-friendly performances for most Saturdays this summer. Enjoy!

Related info:
Fort Mason Schedule of Events

Written by Rebar

July 24th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Projects

Cabinet National Library Restoration Project

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Return to CabinetlandiaAfter five years of feedback and critique from the terrain and visitors of Cabinetlandia, we’re back to make the Cabinet National Library better than ever by refurbishing the cabinet and adding an exhibition annex.

Stay tuned for a full project summary and photos from our adventure in the desert.

Related info:
Cabinet Magazine

Written by Rebar

July 4th, 2009 at 1:02 am

Posted in Projects

Protected: UC Davis Village Square “Social Furniture”

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Written by Blaine

April 30th, 2000 at 2:54 pm