The $5.2-million Lands End Lookout overlooks the ruins of Sutro Baths and the Pacific Ocean west of San Francisco.

Completed in April 2012, the 4,150-sq-ft visitors center contains exhibits detailing the area's Native American legacy and the Sutro Baths, which opened in 1896 as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment. The bath facility burned to its foundations in 1966.

The project includes a café and public restrooms for the surrounding trail system. The building also provides offices for the volunteer program that cares for the surrounding natural habitat.

Designed to achieve LEED-Gold status, the building harnesses daylight, prevailing winds and the topography to conserve energy resources. The winds and land help ventilate the building, bringing air in below the floor and exhausting it through clerestory windows. Other green strategies are a rooftop photovoltaic system, ultra-low-flow bathroom fixtures, LED lighting and in-ground stormwater retention.

Designed to withstand the harsh coastal environment, the concrete, wood and glass structure shelters a landscaped courtyard.

The windy site and sandy soil made erosion control a priority. The concrete cast-in-place walls also challenged the construction team in part because of the fiber-reinforced polymer ties that were chosen.

Lands End Lookout

San Francisco

Key Players

Owner: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, San Francisco

Contractor: Plant Construction Co., San Francisco

Lead Design: EHDD, San Francisco

Submitted by Plant Construction Co.