Golden Shoals


Whereas a multitude of localized strategies can be employed over time to adapt to sea level rise (SLR), a singular, large-scale infrastructure investment to protect the Bay may prove attractive if the more extreme SLR projections are realized. The Rising Tides competition put forth by BCDC in 2009 contemplated a tidal barrage at the Golden Gate. However, due to the tidal prism and outward drainage from the Delta, high velocity flows have created a canyon over 350 ft deep in this location. Such a deep barrage is not only costly but also presents numerous ecological and logistical challenges.

As a counterpoint to the complex analysis required for localized solutions, our team contemplated a Bay-wide solution to SLR that departed from those presented by the Rising Tides teams. Instead of looking at the Gate itself, we looked offshore where waters as shallow as 30 feet to form a natural crescent about seven miles long. The estimated 7M cu. yd. of fill material required to form the shoals in this location is almost a third of what might be required at the Golden Gate.

This 7-mile long crescent of underwater shoals could be transformed into a new, ecologically-attuned land mass. Multiple points of entry allow for passage of wildlife and boat traffic including cargo ships, fishing and whale watching boats and recreational sail boats. The shoals could become a recreational destination where breakwaters provide calm waters leeward and allow for exploration of a new reef ecology. The shoals would create swimming beaches - “Golden Gate Beach” - and wetland habitat - “Golden Marshes”. Structures such as cultural pavilions could be built along the shoal and into the calm water with wet feet.

As a jetty, the shoals could solve the problem of sand erosion at Ocean Beach, saving one of the region's most popular beaches. Spanning from Ocean Beach to the Marin Headlands, the ocean side of the shoals creates one of the longest surf breaks on the West Coast!

Tide gates placed strategically along the shoals would only need to be closed during extreme tide events. During most events, terrestrial floodwaters from the Delta will be able to escape through the perforated shoals. As the ocean more frequently reaches problematic elevations, pumping requirements intensify. This energy demand could be met by renewables installed along the shoals including tidally-driven hydropower, wind energy and generators fueled by biodiesel from algae feedstocks.

Bridges from the shoals to land provide access from the Gate up and down the coasts where recreational ships typically enter and exit. An opening in the middle of the shoals provide access for logistics vessels including cargo ships and oil tankers. A dune walk provides accessible pathways for all Bay Area residents to enjoy, and would create a new recreational loop, linking the western edges of San Francisco and Marin.

Concept

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Golden Shoals

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BIG + ONE + Sherwood

The BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team is co-led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE), and Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood). The team also includes experts from Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, and The Dutra Group. The Team brings together significant international experience in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Bay Area with a variety of experience in designing spaces that are vulnerable to climate events by understanding a region’s economic, political and social environment.

The Team is founded on a shared belief in the power of well-designed...

The BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team is co-led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE), and Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood). The team also includes experts from Moffat & Nichol, Nelson Nygaard, Strategic Economics, and The Dutra Group. The Team brings together significant international experience in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the Bay Area with a variety of experience in designing spaces that are vulnerable to climate events by understanding a region’s economic, political and social environment.

The Team is founded on a shared belief in the power of well-designed spaces that are connected to their contexts - ecologically, economically, and socially - and overall play a transformative role in the cities where they are located. With a collective commitment to embrace the interconnected, rich, and diverse set of human and non-human ecosystems that comprise the Bay Area, the BIG + ONE + Sherwood Team looks at the city as a Social Ecosystem – one where we can proactively design the links between nature, and culture, between people, and their environment.

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