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Cloud Arch Studio

39 neighbors want Common Ground – a pavilion and interactive game that explores new forms of pedestrian interaction in Central Market, San Francisco.

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About
The Market Street Prototyping Festival challenges teams to design urban interventions which bring out the diversity of Market Street’s neighborhoods and encourage new forms of social engagement. Often the latter is a problem by design, since ideas that box themselves into specific categories of political or socioeconomic interaction by definition leave other populations underrepresented.

As a group of UX designers and architects based all around the world, our team at Cloud Arch Studio sought to define a more universal way to understand the gap in pedestrian interaction and came up with a simple binary condition: people who are moving, and people who are still. We have devised a game that requires interaction between people moving by and people staying put and rewards greater participation and coordination between all types of people. Through three simple networked surfaces - seating, landscape, and pavement built on identical grids - we can map user inputs from corresponding cells of seating and pavement to an unexpected water feature within the landscape, and program the reactions to occur sequentially as more cells are activated in sync along the path. No water feature is activated unless both the seat and the pavement are activated, and if the whole path is activated then the installation will offer a grand finale feature. The overall result is a sometimes surprising, sometimes contagious, but always magical experience powered by connections between strangers and the common ground beneath our feet.

The pavilion will be programmed and constructed by local team members at Stanford in partnership with a variety of mentors in the arts and engineering disciplines. Through our participation in the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon competition we have significant experience assembling and delivering installations on time and under budget. The skeletal roof structure shown in the renderings was designed by our Danish, Slovenian, and Puerto Rican colleagues and is a simple solution to sun and rain protection while being easy to manufacture, transport, and construct, and the sensor and feedback elements of the interaction will be developed and tested at our product realization labs on Stanford campus. 

We are especially interested in working in the Embarcadero district because we want to highlight its distinct character as Market Street’s gateway to the water and address the current gaps of engagement between visitors (from the Hyatt and waterfront) and locals commuting to and from the Ferry Building. We hope our novel urban installation will improve interaction between these and all people in a playful and welcoming way while becoming a hub of leisure and entertainment. As trained architects and engineers we have had many experiences working with the Autodesk team and would enjoy collaborating with them here to develop a sustainable virtual design & construction methodology to our prototype, and scaled possibilities to come. We also welcome the opportunity to work with the Hyatt Regency, Pacific Waterfront Partners, and Port of San Francisco to better understand and engage the social dynamics and navigation experience in this important nexus of tourism, commerce, and culture.

Outreach
At Cloud Arch Studio, our whole practice is built on the belief that designers and architects cannot solve problems of the built environment without first engaging its users and occupants in human-centered need-finding and subsequent iterative prototyping and feedback. That is why this summer we got out of the office and set up a POP-UP architecture studio inside a bustling antiques market in London to engage with the local community for four weeks on producing a shared vision of their market development. That is why a month later we went to a film and wine festival in Slovenia on their request for a film center proposal and spoke to the local community about what kinds of educational and cultural needs they have in order to co-create a long-term plan. And that is why for the next four months we are working with partner universities on a project-based learning experience that places interdisciplinary teams in a real-world challenge like urban blight in the Central Valley and pedagogically immerses them in community outreach to drive positive impact in urban planning and public policy. 

We intend to bring this robust experience in working with communities to the Market Street Prototyping Festival, starting with a series of prototypes at Stanford and on Market Street to test and refine our user experience. The specific types of sensor-feedback interactions we are creating translate well to low-cost, lightweight, and rapid iterations built-to-scale onsite, allowing us to get direct feedback from user testing and even allow people to manipulate our prototypes themselves. This is why we are purposefully leaving a great deal of design flexibility between now and April. Most importantly we want to understand what is currently lacking for pedestrians on the Embarcadero district and how our intervention can meet those physical and social needs, and we will do this mostly through face-to-face interactions between locals and our team, many of whom are also SF locals, supplemented by an online network of social media and external feedback. This is ultimately the key to our “glocal” approach which draws innovation from global perspectives while respecting the unique needs and circumstances of the locality. It is our way of advancing the mission of a global community through a project in one of the epicenters of human-centered innovation.

Get Involved
If you like this idea, "me too" it to stay updated on it's progress. Feel free to share your insights in the "How can you help?" section. If you'd like to get involved with this project, let us know. You can fill out a volunteer form to help with the overall festival here.

Supporters All

Market Street Prototyping Festival
Ashley Newton
Maria Judice
Rebecca Díaz Atienza
Maru
Tina Vilfan
Tim McCormick
francois nion
Josh Lee
Ross
Colin Bookman
Michelle Chinn
Derek Ouyang
Lourdes Diaz Atienza
RiCky Coll Martínez
Domibel Cosme
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Cloud Arch Studio

How to make your own: m.instructables.com/id/MSPF-Co...

Thumb76f1d8fb7086a11427cbda30587d0f1f

MSPF Common Ground

Common Ground was a sidewalk installation designed by Cloud Arch Studio for the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Please start by watching the video...

www.instructables.com/id/MSPF-...

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1
Posted Jul 28, 2015
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Tom K.

I love how this project is shaping up. Seems like the next evolutionary step of the parklet. Are we now in post-parklet San Francisco? :)

twitter.com/CloudArchStudio/st...

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Posted Apr 6, 2015
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Cloud Arch Studio

This is what our booth looked like at the January 21st Design Charrette!

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Posted Jan 27, 2015
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Cloud Arch Studio

Thanks to the 30 members of the public who gave their votes on the most appropriate design for Common Ground! Your feedback will help us make our final design choices and get ready for construction!

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Posted Jan 27, 2015
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Cloud Arch Studio

Thank you to those who came to talk to us on the First Street Engagement Day on Friday and gave us feedback on our project! Overall it seemed like the public was receptive to the ideas of interaction between sitters and walkers, and the element of play in the water feature. The greatest concerns we heard were that the water jets might get pedestrians uncomfortably wet, and that the pavilion might get dirty and neglected over time. We will make sure that the water feature does not have unnecessary splash, and will focus on materials and quality of design to make the pavilion easy to clean and collectively cherish.

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Posted Nov 9, 2014
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Cloud Arch Studio

We joined other participants for a walking tour of the Embarcadero District Friday morning. Highlights included the world's largest hotel lobby at the Hyatt, the revitalized Ferry Building, and the historic 1 Market Street facade.

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Posted Nov 9, 2014
Tom K.
Tom K.
Nov 20, 2014

I love the inside of the Hyatt. Definitely an impressive space...

Posted by Tom K. on Nov 20, 2014
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Derek Ouyang

To follow the design team at Cloud Arch Studio, please like our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/cloudarchitec...

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Cloud Architecture

We are a global architectural practice specializing in client solutions that utilize cloud-based...

www.facebook.com/cloudarchitec...

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Posted Nov 3, 2014
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