The 191-acre planned neighborhood of Parkmerced was developed from 1940 to 1951 and included nearly 3,500 residential units, a commercial zone, school, recreational areas, and a meadow, with high-rise apartment towers and low-rise garden apartments, built for middle income tenants in southwestern San Francisco, California.
Parkmerced was designed as “a city within a city” by its architecture and landscape architecture collaborators, Leonard Schultze and Thomas Church, aided by Robert Royston. Together they developed the site plan, using both radial geometry and a Beaux Arts approach, breaking with the traditional San Francisco street grid. Park Merced is anchored by Church’s heavily wooded, three-acre, oval park, Juan Bautista Circle. All major streets radiate from this center. To the west of the main circle, a large open space called the Meadow serves as front yard for four mid-rise residential towers. A consistent plant palette unifies the garden courtyard designs.