Public Projects

Projected completion date 2005
A Public Art Commission for the City of San Francisco
911/OES Building, 1011 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA

This project acknowledges the importance of San Francisco’s Office of Emergency Services/9-1-1 Center (O.E.S.). When reports of urgent situations come from phone calls and the familiar red metal emergency boxes positioned at numerous street corners, help is dispatched through the O.E.S. Their services link and hold the urban environment safely together.

Here consists of a map of San Francisco sandblasted onto the concrete floor of the outdoor plaza adjacent to the OES Center. The map includes major streets with small red tiles marking the locations of emergency boxes throughout the city. A modified emergency box will be installed on the plaza, offering a peek into its inner workings. Visitors will be able to pull a lever and witness the system as it taps out a Morse Code-like signal to the dispatch center. I find the emergency boxes fascinating, they are technologically simple yet amazing devices that have functioned as alarms in San Francisco for over a hundred years. When more sophisticated systems have faltered during emergencies—like the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake—the red boxes did their job saving lives and the city infrastructure itself.

Project Team   


Graphic design of map, production of stencil
Ari Salomon

Installation of map
Chris Stinehour

Concrete sandblasting
Peninsula Sandblasting

Special thanks to the San Francisco Department of Public Works for donating an emergency pull box

©2012 Sheila Ghidini