I was asked to be the lead creative on the team that produced a slip-jacket bound trilogy book set that tells the story of how a dilapidated, run-down pier was transformed into a world-class, Platinum LEED certified museum. Under, Build and Sustain are a record of how the Exploratorium made its new home on the San Francisco waterfront at Pier 15.

The project ran for almost 18 months and was a multi-faceted task. From photo editing and art direction, to design and layout and infographic design to production and printing supervision. It was a complex and challenging project and one that would be impossible without a great team. As the names suggest each part of the trilogy focused on a specific aspect of the project.


Amy Snyder: Award-winning Exploratorium photographer.

Ben Marks: Editor extraordinaire.

Julie Nunn: Project co-ordinator & Museum Sales Director
Kristina Woolsey: Project Director


Is a behind (or below if you like) the scenes look at the extreme engineering requirements that went into making sure the Pier and the Museum would last for the next hundred years and beyond. The last  few spreads of the book were in the form of a poem illustrated by the last two images in this sequence. 


A huge part of explaining the complexity of the construction process was designing graphical representations of both time and space. The sequencing of the construction and demolition, the duration and location of each step, all needed to be carefully designed to give the reader a clear understanding of what was achieved. 

To do this I created 2 kinds of graphics.


The first was a circular image with 24 segments on the outer ring. Each representing one month of work. The 24 segments were then color coded to map to the chapter headings palette and then the corresponding number of colored segments indicate how many months that work lasted. 


The second device was a line art drawing of the whole Pier which appears on each chapter break. A red dot was used to indicate the location of that part of the project.

Of all the hard decisions the team had to make the most heart-wrenching was the inability to preserve the beautiful folk art mural of a sea horse on the rear of the connector building. Drawn most likely in the 30's by a long forgotten stevedore, it at least lives on in our book. 

The line drawing that indicated the location of each part of the project


The final book of the trilogy addresses the solutions to the problems that the team found as they strived to create not only a building but an institution that could lay claim to a carbon neutral footprint. In the front of the book I designed the first few spreads as simply as possible to  frame these issues by showcasing Amy's lush photography.

Much of the sustainability centered on the photovoltaic array that runs the length of the pier. I created two infographics to illustrate the relationship between need and production.

© 2018 Tim Sawyer