University of California San Francisco: Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan

University of California San Francisco: Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan

San Francisco, CA, USA

A radical repositioning of a leading health sciences education and research campus is founded on community ideals and proposes long-term design improvements that benefit all of San Francisco.

A premiere research, clinical and academic institution, the original and historic UCSF Parnassus Heights campus had not seen adequate investment in its physical environment as the University constructed its Mission Bay campus. Setting sights on the future of Parnassus, UCSF partnered with Perkins Eastman to envision a vibrant, intertwined, and community-focused environment that sets the standard for inter-professional healthcare, education, and discovery. Developed through a deeply collaborative, analytical process, the comprehensive plan sets in motion innovative design solutions for a global campus and memorable destination overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park.

Project Facts

  • Client:

  • University of California San Francisco
  • Size:

  • 433,014 sq. m.
  • Services:

  • Urban Strategies, PE Strategies, Campus Planning, Sustainable + Resilient Design, Public Realm Design
  • Markets:

  • Higher Education, Science + Technology, Healthcare, Urban Design + Planning
  • Region:

  • United States
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    The Parnassus campus is home to over 70 research, clinical, academic, and housing buildings—almost all of them more than 50 years old. During an existing conditions analysis, it became clear to Perkins Eastman that the campus does not adequately support the contemporary research, educational, and clinical activities of UCSF faculty, staff, and students. Despite this, the campus benefits from a close-knit community and hillside terrain that give it distinct character and makes it a mixing-bowl of ideas and innovation. The plan outlines which structures may be eligible for renovation as well as which sites are suited for new construction. It provides recommendations for planning and building new facilities that augment the existing campus and transform it into an effective discovery and care ecosystem. The new vision for Parnassus creates a seamless campus where UCSF can provide world-class research, top-tier education, make novel medical advances, and treat patients with diverse needs.

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    The UCSF Parnassus Steering Committee and the Perkins Eastman team conducted a series of inclusive engagement activities with individuals beyond traditional University stakeholder groups, including neighborhood community members in the process. The public participated in town hall events and surveys, where they communicated their desires for the area to be inclusive and considerate of the needs of those who live and work in Parnassus Heights. Adequate housing and mobility, accessible public spaces with connection to nature, and beneficial multi-use buildings were their biggest priorities. The comprehensive plan lays out how each of these things could be achieved in the coming years.

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    “Not only did we receive our comprehensive master plan on time, but Perkins Eastman also was instrumental in multiple additional milestones along the way in the form of design workshops, plans, renditions, and alternate models. This phase of the project was among our top strategic priorities at UCSF, critical because of the impact on our world-renowned research community. Perkins Eastman proved to be an invaluable partner in helping us realize our vision and goals. We think of the PE team as Nobel Prize Winners in architecture.” – Daniel H. Lowenstein, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

    With a goal of “future-proofing” the campus, the comprehensive plan outlines a wide variety of flexible, sustainable environments from spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration to accessible public areas that promote community connection. Parnassus Heights will be home to facilities that meet rigorous energy and resiliency standards, in keeping with UCSF’s commitment to safety and carbon neutrality. Plans also accommodate expected growth in programming and space needs, ensuring the campus can evolve along with advances in science, medicine, and the changing needs of researchers and medical practitioners.

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