Bionic is a landscape architecture, urban design, and planning practice based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2007 by Marcel Wilson, the firm’s mandate is to enable life at all scales of design—microscopic to macroscopic. This pursuit involves the stimulation of culture, the design of ecologies, and the negotiation of complexity between the built environment and the natural world.
Bionic is invested in the belief that the world is now a designed and managed place: biological and technological, existing and invented, alive and constructed. We excel at resolving the complexity of landscape, infrastructure, technology, architecture, transportation, ecology, politics, economics, and social factors. We employ a highly creative and collaborative approach to projects, and we strive to invent new and contemporary forms of landscapes, systems, and places that support life. Collaborations with engineers, architects, ecologists, communities, and stakeholders are designed to advance each project, and to cultivate close working relationships. Bionic is committed to contemporary solutions that address immediate concerns and anticipate the future.
The creative capabilities of Bionic are reflected in our portfolio containing a wide range of complex projects, including art installations, urban centers, plazas, parks, campuses, housing, waterfronts, stream corridors, habitat restoration, industrial facilities, mixed-use development, and intimate urban spaces.
Bionic has been recognized as a cutting edge contemporary practice through numerous awards from institutions such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Chicago AIA, and the Boston Society of Architects; and nominations for the New York Architectural League Emerging Voices award and the Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt National Design Award.
CLIENT SF Museum of Craft & Design
SIZE 3 parking spaces
DATE COMPLETED 2015
The 3dr Street Flashlight is supercharged public space in a vast postindustrial district where there are no safe social public spaces. The street side engages the dynamic urban landscape of the motorway with a faceted wall that changes color with the shifting perspective of viewers in passing cars and trains. Made of metal panels and a structural steel frame, the wall creates a stout perimeter for a safe pedestrian space on the other side. The sidewalk side offers a range of comfortable social spaces and seating experiences for individuals and groups. Built in tables and arm rests, adjustable stools, ADA accessible dimensions, and a continuous bar offer unusual comforts and adaptability. Area lighting mounted on masts projects patterns of light on the ground and adjacent building façade to provide lighting for the parklet to extend its use and presence into the evening. Nano graffiti coatings, access panels, remote lighting controls, and robust steel assemblies ensure enduring quality and permanence in rapidly changing urban landscape.
CLIENT City of Palo Alto
SIZE 2 Acres
DATE COMPLETED Onging
CREDITS 64 NOTH architect / HNTB engineer / NED KAHN artist
The team of 64 North, Bionic, HNTB, and Ned Kahn was selected by the City of Palo Alto to design a bridge and surrounding landscape for a landmark bicycle and pedestrian bridge spanning Highway 101 at Adobe Creek. The iconic design will provide separate, dedicated access and amenities for both pedestrians and cyclists. Stormwater captured from the bridge and surrounding roadways will be captured to create a new vernal pool at the base of the bridge and edge of the Baylands. Elevations of the pool are set to enable habitat migration and future salt marsh ecologies as an innovative planning strategy for resiliency in the Baylands. A universally accessible boardwalk loop will demonstrate and measure the impacts of sea level rise through interpretive experiences and habitat restoration.
SIZE 2.75 Acre
The NVIDIA headquarters is designed to stimulating collaboration on a large scale. It is a bold architectural proposition that creates two 5 acre floor plates under one roof. Fractal Park multiplies the benefits created inside the building by extending this continuous plane of collaboration outside in an artful composition of inspiring outdoor environments. Based on a thorough analysis of site conditions, economic factors, and phasing, the design of the park is founded on a set of first principles. The principles establish an intelligent framework for the design and strategies for the allocation of resource investments in the landscape. From this, a series of 5 systems were created to address the environmental factors and the anticipated site program: landform, circulation, drainage, “sound wall,” structures. A range of micro-climates and planting conditions result to further enhance environmental comfort, create delightful spaces, display seasonality, provide habitats to bird and insect species, and treat storm water. To create a wide range of spaces for refuge and socializing, the fractal geometry of the site and its elements is artfully arrayed at a variety of scales—from spaces for one chair in the shade of a flowering tree, to groups of 2, 4, or 8. In the plaza, hundreds can gather in a sunny spot for lunch or a barbecue. And the domes provide yet a different sense of comfort in the park as they cast patterns, create shade, and cool the temperature. The life of the park is further animated by programs and memorable spaces. A café and bar, gardens, a plaza, an iconic water feature, and sheltered spaces will stimulate regular use and amenities, and offer the flexibility to host a variety of events, gatherings, and attractions. Heating, lighting, misters, and sound work are combined to extend the usefulness and comfort of the park throughout the year and at different times of the day.
CLIENT Build Inc.
SIZE 27 Acres
DATE COMPLETED Onging
Bionic is the lead landscape architect for the India Basin development, a mixed-use site combining a 12.8 acre shoreline public park with over 900 residential units as well as commercial and community institutions. The project reflects the community’s desires to have a wild and accessible waterfront. Soil and water are retained on-site or sold as assets for the creation and maintenance of the park. Some of the trained soil will be used to create a maze-like sequence of landscapes. A system of ponds, and wetlands manages 100% of the site’s stormwater. A living Machine will process all waste water and distribute recycled water to adjacent properties for district-scale sustainability. The resulting experience creates the sense of a vast wilderness with opportunities for unique encounters with the Bay.
CLIENT The Minkoff Group
SIZE 21,500 Sf
DATE COMPLETED 2013
Designed for a global information technology company, the Tech Deck in Mountain View, CA employs a large shade structure, a custom paving system, walls, decks, a bocce ball court, planting, and green roof systems to create a new paradigm for infill workplaces in Silicon Valley that enable collaboration, social interaction, and ecological performance. This high performance landscape sits in a magnificent panorama of Silicon Valley, the Bay, and Moffat Air Base. The elegance of the design is its ability to engage the panorama by creating a sense of approaching the edge without cluttering the view with clumsy devises. Sixty feet in the air, social spaces and building systems are merged with the horticultural conditions of diverse and dynamic planting compositions to manage 100% of the site’s storm water, create habitats for birds and pollinating insects, and contribute to the LEED Platinum objective for the project.