Friday morning a giant, inflatable bubble resembling a dinosaur egg occupied a parking spot on Valencia Street between 18th and 19th. Rather than signaling a potential reptilian invasion, the structure designed by Interstice Architects at 587 Shotwell was a participant in Park(ing) Day 2013, an international event that creates temporary public parks out of metered parking spaces.
“Park(ing) Day advocates for creating more public open space,” said Matt Lindsey, one of architects behind the temporary park dubbed “Parkilicious.”
Made from numerous pieces of polyethylene plastic, filled with air, and carpeted with green artificial turf, Lindsey said Interstice’s temporary park is a “semi-permanent, mobile, inflatable, pre-fabricated system…sort of like a large 3D puzzle.”
“It’s light-hearted architecture that’s for the public,” said Interstice’s Sarah Sobel – the pun very much intended.
Started in 2005 by the San Francisco design studio Rebar, Park(ing) Day aims to bring more public parks to sections of cities that may be lacking open space. Since its founding, Park(ing) Day has expanded to 162 cities around the world.
Anyone can register to participate in the completely “open-source” event. This morning along Valencia Street, several temporary parks were going up.
Further north on Valencia in front of San Francisco Friends School, a group of about 20 sixth graders held banners and shouted “Honk if you love the world!” The students were standing in a temporary park they had made in art class. Their patch of green turf was lined with hand-painted banners, parking cones, colorful cardboard tubes and various crafts the students were giving away to passersby.
“Our park hopes to promote environmental awareness and joy,” said art teacher Jennifer Stuart. She said this is the third year her sixth grade class has participated in Park(ing) Day. “I want kids to understand art isn’t just what you hang on the wall in a gallery.”
“It’s fun,” said one of the eager students. “You make people smile.”
Temporary Park(ing) Day parks will be appearing throughout the city until 4p.m. today. For more information visit http://parkingday.org.