Falsework

launch date: November 17th, 2013

Falsework consists of temporary structures used in construction to support, protect, provide scaffolding for, or shore up other architectural components of the construction zone.

The Presidio Pet Cemetery, nestled under Doyle Drive at the foot of McDowell Avenue, is the final resting place for the more than 420 dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, and goldfish that once lived on the military base at the Presidio. Grave markers date back more than fifty years, when 2,000 families were stationed there.  The base was closed in 1996 and is now a national park. 

While Doyle Drive (the ramp that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge) is being replaced overhead, the Pet Cemetery is protected by falsework, nets, and fencing and is currently inaccessible. After construction ends in 2015, the site will be restored and once again serve as a reminder of what military family life was like at the Presidio.

Falsework explores the visual disparity between the cemetery’s small, fragile graves, and the massive structure that protects them to examine the dynamic relationship between humans, their pets, and this site. Video about the construction of the pet cemetery’s falsework, photographs, geocaching elements, and texts will be posted to this page.  Pairs of geocaching travel bugs depicting living pets and their owners will be separated and then placed in different caches outside the Presidio.  The public will then be invited to find and reunite these pairs, visit the pet cemetery with them, and then place them in the Falsework cache, which will be located nearby.

This project launches on November 17th with a walking tour, for both people and pets, of the Pet Cemetery and its falsework.  Members of the Threshold Choir (all woman's a cappella choir that sings at bedside for hospice and palliative care) will sing in front to the cemetery as the tour proceeds.  On the road above the cemetery, the tour will pause to hear details about the construction of the falsework.  The tour will conclude with celebratory treats and a rousing game of fetch for anyone interested in participating.  The project will conclude in 2015 with the official reopening of the cemetery.

Produced by Laurie Halsey Brown, senseofplace LAB

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