San Francisco Friends School

San Francisco Friends School    San Francisco, California

San Francisco Friends School, serving grades K-8, moved to the historic Levi Strauss building at 250 Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District in the fall of 2008. The move involved renovation of the 1906 building and the surrounding landscape to create a supportive educational environment, while maintaining the site’s historic qualities.  The landscape design reflects the school’s Quaker values of simplicity and community.     

The play yard, facing busy Valencia Street, presents an attractive face to the neighborhood while creating a rich, lively environment for education, recreation, and events.  The active play space of the lower yard is defined by a main quad, subdivided into a paved section for court games and a synthetic lawn area for field games and impromptu play.  The lawn includes a popular climbing structure that was relocated from the school’s previous site.   

A warmly tinted concrete bleacher runs the length of the quad and accommodates school-wide events and performances.  The bleacher also serves as social space during recess and seating for small classes held outdoors. The terrace above the bleacher, shaded by native Californian sycamore trees, is intended for the youngest students, allowing them a space of their own for outdoor classroom and play activities.   

The outdoor spaces for students accommodate multiple types of use and establish a secure and healthy learning environment.  Renovations also provide clear and direct entries for visitors and deliveries and enable streetside pick-up and drop-off.      

Miller Company had the opportunity to provide landscape design and construction services to the Levi Strauss Company to renovate this site in the 1980s, when the building still served as a Levi’s clothing factory.  Our work created an outdoor lunch area for employees and a gathering space for tour groups coming to visit the facility.  With this history, we feel particularly fortunate to have been engaged to renovate the landscape for the San Francisco Friends School.


2009: Energy and Sustainability Citation Award – American Institute of Architects--San Francisco


Architect: Pfau Long Architecture