Aging facilities, some of which are structurally unsound and date back to the 1950’s, led to this project that involves the complete upgrade or replacement of the solids handling processes at the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s Southeast Plant. The processes addressed include solids thickening, solids dewatering, odor control, energy recovery, and most notably—anaerobic digestion facilities. Upgrades and replacements at the plant will occur for up to ten years, making community outreach an important part of the design process.
Located in an existing, culturally diverse, and historically disenfranchised neighborhood, a significant driver for this project is the need to improve the plant’s odor, noise, traffic, and aesthetic impacts on the surrounding community. The goal is to not only improve the plant, but to provide real benefits and amenities to the community. A variety of neighborhood revitalization projects now underway offer a unique opportunity for this project to contribute to these positive transformations and become a catalyst for future improvements in this neighborhood.
The architectural aesthetic will relate to and transition between the industrial and residential characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood. Art and visitor education will be integrated at key points around the public edges, and a public tour route will highlight the biosolids and energy recovery processes, providing views into process areas and demonstration areas, and incorporate interpretive signage.