We all love and enjoy the beauty that is Township Commons at Brooklyn Basin. But did you know that a lot of work went into its planning in order to make it a wonderful place for all. Here is a little planning insight of all of the work that went into its design and creation, courtesy of an excellent Landscape Architecture Magazine article.
Einwiller Kuehl Landscape worked closely with the Oakland planning commission to ensure the best plan possible for all to enjoy.
The Oakland planning commission gave the Einwiller Kuehl plan a unanimous nod. During the meeting, the planning commissioner Chris Pattillo, FASLA, who is also a principal emeritus of the landscape architecture firm PGAdesign in Oakland, said, “I know very well that what [Einwiller Kuehl] has produced here is nothing short of astounding, given the time frame that [the firm] had to do it, and I am grateful—and I think the whole city will be grateful—when they see it.” Added Pattillo: “A lot of us talked about wanting it to be gritty, to be urban, to be edgy. You totally got that.”
By respecting and embracing its rich history, Township Commons is the perfect balance of historic and contemporary.
At the eastern end, the restored terminal is now a popular gathering space with plentiful outdoor seating. Einwiller Kuehl convinced the developers to extend the roof overhang from two building bays to three—encompassing 72 feet—to create an even deeper “porch” that faces the rest of the park, “captur[ing] that connection between architecture and landscape,” Einwiller says. The terminal is currently home to a gourmet market and café, public restrooms, and a kayak rental, with space for a future restaurant and additional retail. The retail activity also provides eyes on the street for public safety.
The end-user experience was carefully designed as well:
Along the trail, the designers marked the loading docks with their original numbers, which people have been using to designate meeting points. “They are pedestrian loading docks now,” Kuehl says. “We’ve seen invitations that say, ‘We’re having a birthday party at Brooklyn Basin at #47,’ which is adorable.”
The Public loves the new waterfront amenity. It’s the perfect spot to take in the beauty of the region or just relax during a sunny day along the Oakland waterfront.
“I knew this space was perfect for something of this scale,” says Mama Celeste, a local drag queen who launched “Rollin’ with the Homos,” a hugely popular monthly skate party and drag show, in February 2021. “It’s got the perfect setup with this amphitheater on the hill, the stage, and the beautiful backdrop of the Oakland Estuary.”
All Photography by Eric Einwiller
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