Peak Experience | San Francisco, USA | ATLAS Lab

Peak Experience is an exciting installation by ATLAS Lab that was created for the San Francisco Market Street Prototyping Festival – a 3 Day event that took place in April showcasing 50 prototype projects.

Drawing from the nearly 53 hills that frame San Francisco’s most diverse and engaging neighborhoods, Peak Experience reconceives the hills of San Francisco into a series of varying and undulating mounds that frame a mix of uses that promote the integration of play into traditional street models.  



Situated in the Financial District of Market Street, Peak Experience builds upon the recreational corridor of the waterfront to establish a strong identity for Market Street through the augmentation of the flexible sidewalk zone to create an active corridor that supports interactive discovery, play and community engagement. Responding to often static streetscape elements, Peak Experience proposes a soft and flexible sidewalk zone that seeks to introduce a malleable street typology that provide a platform for varying community experiences, while educating visitors about San Francisco topography.

“San Francisco is defined by its hills. They give rise to, even are, its landmarks: Coit Tower, Nob Hill, the cable cars. They are the mirror image of the neighborhoods into which they divide The City. They shape the fog, guiding it away from sunny districts and into others. What better way to know San Francisco than to know its hills?” — Dave Schweisguth | Source: Schweisguth, Dave. “How Many Hills of San Francisco?” Bits of San Francisco Geography



THE SETTING – San Francisco is the City of Hills

San Francisco’s iconic and majestic terrain is comprised of 53 hills and has curated the City’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.

THE SITE – Market Street Lacks Views of San Francisco’s iconic Landscape

Situated along the “flats” of San Francisco, Market Street provides direct access to SF’s diverse neighborhoods, yet lacks visibility to the hills that frame the City and does not support a vibrant platform for community engagement.

THE OPPORTUNITY – Topography as an agent for interactive discovery, play and engagement

The Market Street corridor has the opportunity to integrate interactive play by means of deploying San Francisco’s playful topography as an agent for interactive discovery, play and engagement along Market Street’s flexible sidewalk zone.

THE VISION – Establish a culturally unique recreational corridor for Market Street

Establish a flexible, educational, and culturally unique recreational corridor for Market Street that provides a diverse platform for community engagement.

Source: The project title, ‘Peak Experience’ is from Tom Graham’s 2004 SFGate’s article that investigates and highlights the famous hills of San Francisco.

Graham, Tom. “Peak Experience”. San Francisco Chronicle p. PK-23, November 7, 2004

Image & Text Credit | ATLAS Lab

About Damian Holmes 3228 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at