Along the idyllic eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay is Albany, California, a small hamlet with a penchant for renegade behaviors. It all started in 1908 when two women with shotguns protested the dumping of trash in their community by Berkeley, its neighboring city. Shortly thereafter, town folk voted to incorporate what we know today as Albany, California.
Fast forward nearly 100 years, Albany released a Call for Artists to engage their beloved Ohlone Greenway. The city’s ambitious goals for the project faced the hard realities of a $40,000 budget. Groundworks Office found no better time to rouse its own renegade spirit.
The site was a stretch of lawn cowering under the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s elevated tracks. This urban remnant, the Ohlone Greenway, was made when city voters declined to pay for the undergrounding of light-rail tracks in 1964. The result, albeit via total happenstance, was the creation of a vibrant, ecologically rich, urban linear park.
The solution was going to need a serious helping of moxie and creative might.
And so, in a fit of creative exuberance Albany Loop was created. The Loop flurries across the site using a 12” diameter, high-strength steel pipe which people can sit, relax, rest, and get goofy on. At its crescendo, it spells out ALBANY in an audaciously graphical and energetic statement. The scale of Albany Loop was intended to be a bold landmark not just for those riding, walking or scooting on the ground, but for those passing above too.
Image Credits: Caitlin Atkinson