Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

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Redefining residential architecture: Clark Manus

The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke with Clark Manus, formerly the 87th president of the AIA, who will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ AM San Francisco panel titled “Redefining Residential Architecture.” Manus has served as an advisor to the Mayor of San Francisco, chairing the Citizens Advisory Group for the area that was vacated for the removal of the freeways in Rincon Hill in the 1980s. He currently lives in Oakland and was appointed by its mayor to serve as Planning Commissioner. Also a CEO of Heller Manus Architects, Manus says his firm has completed over 50 projects at a range of scales, jokingly saying they have done everything aside from hospitals and jails. We spoke about defining issues in the Bay Area that are shaping new construction: cost of construction, San Francisco’s historic urban fabric, energy codes, and more. On Cost of Construction Manus says the difference in the type of facade materials you would use in a Type III building—rainscreen assemblies, punched windows, shingles—is dramatically different than a Type I building where curtain walls are utilized. Manus said California’s statute of limitations for condo liability—set at 10-years—establishes a motive for developers to construct buildings using more durable Type I construction, as opposed to Type III or Type V, when they can afford it. "You begin to look at issues on the facade related to the efficiency of the structural system, and the use of skin materials that are going to be better to deal with water and noise: potential problems that might exist over time. So the difference between using a curtain wall versus a window wall is maybe a dollar issue, but we tend to try and help clients understand the basis for deciding on a skin irrespective of the efficiency of the floor plan is really related to a whole bunch of other issues. There's a whole bunch of glass curtain wall buildings." On Context and Urban Fabric “In some ways San Francisco is a little schizophrenic in that it absolutely loves its Victorians and historic fabric, but it also aspires to looking for a modern vocabulary.” Manus says facade expressions vary heavily with context. In traditional neighborhoods, an emphasis on compositional strategies involving bay windows and other vernacular elements are prioritized, while areas with less context tend to receive a more minimal and/or modern aesthetic. “Community groups in these neighborhoods want to be involved in a dialogue about what will be constructed. As an architect, this presents a challenge in terms of where your project fits and where it does not. There is also a planning department that does very detailed design review on projects, so as an architect you go through a discussion with them in addition to presenting to community groups about what might fit in. Our projects in these neighborhoods are not the same ones we would do in a new district where there is no context.” On Energy Codes Despite a temperate climate, heat gain from glazed facades still presents a significant design issue. Manus says energy conscious design has a lot to do with the facade, it's orientation to the sun, glazing, and other elements that will assist the building in getting to a higher level of efficiency. "The energy codes are really great at creating a better environment, but have made glass darker and darker which, in my mind, is not really conducive to creating a visible transparency for residential use. It's really unfortunate. If you want to see the life of the city, and what's going on behind the facade, you don't want a dark or mirrored glass." Manus' projects, while market rate, have significant inclusionary housing in them. Anywhere from 12, 15, or 18 percent, which he cites as an “unusual rate.” He concludes that the growth of San Francisco—or the “transformation of San Francisco,” as he calls it—is great, but very challenging because with success comes things that you sometimes don't anticipate. “I think getting out in front of developments and truly creating new housing takes a long time. Issues like high cost of construction basically take hold very early on in the process. The regulatory environment, compounded with the process of developing drawings, and the course of construction takes time—you could either be through another cycle, or you could have created other problems you didn't anticipate.” Manus takes the stage with Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architecture and Cynthia Parker of BRIDGE Housing to discuss more aspects of facades and residential architecture. Go to Facades+ AM San Francisco to learn more about the event and the other sessions taking place.
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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson transforms data center into open, flexible office for Square

Whether or not we’ve realized it, most of us have bought products through Square, a company that supplies small businesses with the now-ubiquitous square-shaped hardware and software that remotely processes credit card payments. Square’s new offices in San Francisco are meant to be as minimal, clear, and usable as its products.

Located in what was once a miserable, almost completely windowless Bank of America data center, the new 300,000-square-foot, fourth-floor office is just the opposite: an open, light-filled workspace organized by a central “boulevard,” lined with gathering spaces (including a library, gallery, and cafe), and a wide variety of working spaces, including bench-style work desks, tables, and semi-private, acoustically lined “work cabanas.”

To manage the space’s ridiculously big floor plates (100,000 square feet, four times the typical size), according to Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) principal Gregory Mottola, the firm studied urban precedents as varied as Dubrovnik and Milan, looking at everything from urban plazas to enclosed arcades. Unifying the office floors is a massive amphitheater stair that cuts through floors six, seven, and eight, and provides zones for individual work, group meetings, and large presentations. The stair is fitted with movable, lightweight powder-coated tables that snake their way down its length to create unique working and relaxing environments. Another office anchor is the eighth and ninth floor “Square Stair,” a floating switchback connecting the office floor to the main dining level.

“You’re giving up rentable floor area, but the payoff is you have these incredible group amenities,” said Mottola. “The key was this idea of creating a really collaborative, transparent company. You don’t want to have one place feel disconnected from the rest.”

Clean lines and lots of white (on steel panels, stretch-fabric ceiling panels, and drywalls) reflect the brand’s identity and lightens the mood, while salvaged wood elements, like the eucalyptus amphitheater stair, Plyboo cabanas, and end-grain woodblock flooring in the lobby, provide warmth and visual interest. Splashes of color demarcate important spaces, provide needed accents, and reflect the locale: Bright orange, for instance, recalls the Golden Gate Bridge, while blue shades evoke the nearby San Francisco Bay. The company installed new windows along the perimeters of the sixth, seventh, and eighth floors, drawing in natural light where there once had been none. Another big aspect of the design within a limited budget was lighting. BCJ employed a variety of techniques, from spear-shaped “light saber” LEDs above the boulevard to indirect lighting in the workstations and sculptural accent pendants in the lounge spaces.

“We tried to make the most of those dramatic moments when we could,” said Mottola, who noted that Square was drawn to BCJ’s clean work for Apple’s stores, but not its purely monochrome palette. As the company grows at an exponential rate, the airy, collaborative, and flexible spaces will no doubt come in handy. “We want them to be able to grow and shift over time,” he added.

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Millennium Tower in San Francisco has sunk 16 inches—and now the city is suing

The City of San Francisco is filing a lawsuit against the developer of the 58-story Millennium Tower, which has sunk 16 inches since completion, causing it to tilt, among other issues. San Francisco’s city attorney Dennis Herrera said that he was filing the lawsuit on the grounds that Mission Street Development failed to notify the buyers and the city that the building was sinking at this rate. Since the building was completed in 2008, Mission Street Development has made hundreds of millions of dollars in sales from the approximately 400 units in the building, according to The New York Times. Apartments in the tower cost millions to purchase and the current owners of these apartments are understandably furious. Questions have been raised about the building’s abilities to withstand an earthquake and what ramifications this could have on not only those who live within the building, but for the buildings surrounding it. Its foundation piles are 90-feet short (rather than the 225-foot piles that would have reached bedrock). The skyscraper currently under construction next to the Millennium Tower, for example, has a foundation that reaches down to bedrock. P.J. Johnston, a spokesperson for Mission Street Development, told The New York Times that the city’s construction on the nearby Transbay Terminal caused the unexpected sinking when it removed water from the ground. “The city attorney’s action today has nothing to do with protecting public safety, the building, or its residents,” Johnston said in The New York Times. “Instead, it’s an effort by the City of San Francisco to duck its responsibilities and avoid paying for the harm caused by Transbay Joint Powers Authority." There are estimates that the building to sink up to 31 inches, which could put extreme strain on the building, particularly since it is in a seismic zone. Herrera’s lawsuit alleges that the developer knew by 2008 that this would be the case—a year before it started selling units—and that they developer had a legal obligation to tell buyers about the sinking.
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Black glazed tile clads a curved “mega-bay” in San Francisco's Hayes Valley

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A new market-rate micro-housing project in San Francisco's Hayes Valley—developed in tandem with a new clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club—features 70 studio and two-bedroom apartments clustered around a courtyard with ample, secure bicycle parking. The wood-framed housing structure sits atop a concrete podium housing retail spaces just off the main Hayes Street corridor. The new construction project continues development of vacated land caused by the collapse and removal of the Central Freeway. The project—designed by David Baker Architects, which has designed and built more than 10,000 dwelling units—achieves a density of 240 bedrooms per acre, and consists of 40-percent two-bedroom units located at each corner and facing the courtyard. This is the result of a policy by the city to allow new residential developments to accommodate families. The other apartments are classified as micro-units, ranging from 325 to 400-square-feet. These compact studio apartments embrace an "affordability by design" concept, which, according to David Baker Architects, has “proven popular with younger professionals, as well as seniors.” One of the most contentious issues of the project was a large corner bay clad in a custom glazed tile. The bay's massing spans the entire end of the building, out of scale when compared with a typical vernacular bay, however, the architects say this feature is rooted in careful planning and urbanistic principles. The positive and negative forms of 388 Fulton and the Richardson Apartments across the street—another project by David Baker Architects—make a frame for the City Hall dome two blocks away.
  • Facade Manufacturer Fireclay Tile (glazed thin brick veneer); James Hardie (fiber-cement siding); Golden State Steel (sun shade fabrication); Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows)
  • Architects David Baker Architects
  • Facade Installer Fisher Development Inc. (General Contractor)
  • Facade Consultants KPFF Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineer)
  • Location San Francisco, CA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System wood frame over concrete podium
  • Products Glazed Thin Brick in Inkwell and custom colors by Fireclay Tile; ENERGSAVE by Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows); HardiPanel & HardieTrim (fiber-cement siding)
The black coloration was produced from custom low fire glazed tile sourced from local clay. An artisan tile company glazed the brick with a palette of five subtle variations on a standard “Inkwell” black color. The architects specified a repeating pattern for the colors, which Baker said sometimes gets mistaken for being a uniform color. "The different tile colors added a richness to the composition, which one color would not have provided." The thin tile was set directly onto a mortar bed over a cement plastered wood-framed wall. Expansion joints coordinate with punched window openings for a clean composition. The stacked bond tile also integrates precisely with vents on the facade, which required careful coordination between the contractor and architect. The windows in the curved mega-bay have a custom extra-deep extrusion to accommodate the thickness of the glazed tiles. Computer analysis from programs like Autodesk Ecotect was used to optimize perforated aluminum sunshades on the curved facade and west-facing windows. Design criteria included the relative amount of solar radiation that would hit each window for different times of the day and year, including shade from the building, neighboring buildings, and sunshades. After several iterations, the design resulted in a combination louver-and-fin for windows along the curved bay, and a vertical fin of varying length along the west-facing facade. The shapes of these elements were standardized into three repeatable configurations for fabrication efficiency while minimizing solar radiation during the afternoons in late spring and early fall, particularly into studio units with challenging western exposure. Baker said the project team integrated a lot of fun detailing into the project: “The large curved bay is the signature of the building, and something we put a lot of energy into. We took fairly humble materials, and made them look crisp and sleek." A trademark example of this design approach is the “random batten system,” a phrase coined by the office for an aesthetically driven approach to installation of fiber-cement trim board. Baker called this "ranch house technology." The assembly calls for standard fiber cement board trim to be applied in a randomized pattern, transforming a ubiquitous board and batten system into what Baker said, "Looks like something that you would order from Italy."
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This pavilion by Kuth Ranieri Architects is made of concrete formwork

' Kuth Ranieri Architects’ pavilion made out of cardboard Sonotubes (prefabricated tubular formwork for casting concrete), created for this year’s Market Street Prototyping Festival in San Francisco, has earned the firm a People’s Choice award. Designed and built alongside three dozen other installations, the pavilion—dubbed SonoGROTTO—is made out of a bundle of cardboard Sonotubes varying between 6, 10, and 24 inches in width that are bolted together and carved into a sheltered seating area. Overall, the pavilion’s proportions are equal to those of a cube, with circular sections carved out from the overall mass. Certain Sonotubes extend all the way to the ground and support the structure while others are sliced up along curving profiles, creating the benches, thresholds, and openings that animate the pavilion. The pavilion, designed to be located on an active street, creates what the designers dub as an urban “grotto,” containing areas sheltered by a vaulted ceiling punctured by an oculus that offers views to the sky. In a press release explaining the project, the architects state, “Porous enough to retain a strong connection with its surroundings, yet enclosed enough to provide a safe haven, SonoGROTTO allows people to explore and rest simultaneously. SonoGROTTO offers a space for reflection, refuge, and a myriad of alternate uses for all ages.” The festival was sponsored by the San Francisco Department of City Planning and Yerba Buena Center for the Art. It's also the by-product of extensive community outreach by the department aimed at uncovering new, innovative ideas for enhancing the quality of life along Market Street in downtown San Francisco. As such, the festival organizers sought to engage at the community level through a design-oriented street festival. The three-day festival brought thousands out onto the Market Street corridor along three areas spanning from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on one end to the Embarcadero on the other to display a myriad of pavilion ideas that spanned in concept from architectural follies and performance-oriented displays to even, a miniature forest.  For more information on the other pavilions, see the festival website.
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BREAKING: MAD Architects reveals alternate proposals for Lucas Museum in San Francisco and Los Angeles

Weeks after dropping a long-stalled bid for a Chicago location, MAD Architects and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art have released a collection of renderings for competing schemes aimed at finding the wandering, proposed museum a welcoming home in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. The firm’s proposal for the Chicago location was scrapped earlier this summer after fierce community opposition to the project, to be located on a coveted site along the city’s waterfront in Grant Park. Despite strong support from the city's political class, the $700-million scheme, reminiscent of a futuristic, pitched tent, was ultimately killed by a lawsuit filed by the local community group known as Friends of The Park. The new proposals, being shopped simultaneously between California’s two largest cities, are being presented as pedestrian-friendly, public spaces for each respective city. Both are arranged with expansive second-floor gallery and exhibition spaces that are lifted up on massive piers that allow for park and pedestrian areas to stretch underneath each complex. Each would be 265,000 and 275,000 square feet of overall interior space, with roughly 100,000 square feet of that dedicated toward gallery functions. The Los Angeles Times states that the overall project cost, including a future endowment for the museum, could potentially top $1 billion.  The San Francisco proposal for is being pitched for the city’s Treasure Island and is being incorporated into the SOM-designed master plan for the island community’s waterfront. The building’s rigid-looking exterior skin, punctured by two expanses of glass swoops, culminates in what—based on renderings released by the firm—appears to be a large auditorium space. Aside from the wavy building, these renderings also depict the building’s surrounding ground floor areas as being hardscaped plaza with pedestrian connections to the surrounding waterfront areas. The Los Angeles proposal, on the other hand, would be located in the city’s University of Southern California-adjacent Exposition Park. Located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line and within proximity of the forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium, the proposal would cap the slew of other cultural and entertainment destinations in the park. Despite the light rail proximity, the scheme includes a 1,800-spot underground parking garage that the San Francisco locale does not. Also unlike the San Francisco proposal, the Los Angeles scheme would include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the museum located in a leafy, park setting with people lounging on the knolls surrounding the structure. For now, as always, the schemes continue to be just that: hopeful proposals. Time will tell if one or the other scheme gets selected for either city and, more importantly, if one eventually gets built. A decision regarding the location is expected to be made within the next two- to four-months.
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David Adjaye to master plan expansive San Francisco waterfront development

Just recently it was announced that David Adjaye, founder of London and New York-based Adjaye Associates, will helm The San Francisco Shipyard development. According to The Registry, he will be the project's "master plan architect and creative director." This comes on the heels of the National Museum of African History and Culture's opening; that project saw Adjaye as the lead designer working alongside the Freelon Group (now Perkins+Will), Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR. The area in question is located southeast of downtown San Francisco in the Hunters Point area. The website of FivePoint, who's developing the project, says The Shipyard "includes approximately 800 acres of bayfront property." The website adds that the site will "include approximately 12,000 homesites and roughly 4.1 million square feet of commercial space, making it one of the largest developments of its kind in the history of San Francisco." A sweeping map on the project's website shows a mix of open spaces—over 350 acres—and low-to-medium rise development with a few towers interspersed. The project's shopping and entertainment component will include "1 million square feet of urban retail" and "gourmet restaurant village" while the arts and innovation neighborhood will feature a "5 million-square-foot waterfront R&D center" and "working studios and exhibition spaces for 300 artists." "Sustainable living" is also a key selling point, with native plant landscaping, the restoration of native habitats, and land trails for bikers and runners and water trails for kayakers and canoers. According to The Registry, this is the second phase of the project, with Adjaye's plan building upon the work of New York City-based IBI Architects.
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Tech behemoth Microsoft selected young San Francisco firm Blitz to design its flagship office

“You could say we were the underdogs,” Blitz principal and CEO Melissa Hanley said about being selected to design Microsoft’s flagship office in one of San Francisco’s most notable buildings, 555 California Street. “Microsoft challenged a lot of things with this project, from hiring a tiny little baby firm like us to selecting a transparent site in San Francisco.”

Aside from facing the obstacles of being a small architecture firm tapped to create an office for one of the largest technology companies in the world, Blitz had to work within the restraints of 555 California Street (formerly the Bank of America Center). Art Gensler was brought on to design the tower’s indoor space when the building opened in 1969, and he’s credited by some as the inventor of commercial interior architecture. “There was a great deal of responsibility to not mess it up,” Hanley said.

Hanley and her team treated working within the iconic building’s structure and Microsoft’s “global design guidelines” (hundreds of parameters for everything from the conference rooms to staff algorithms) as a huge, complex puzzle. To take the stakes one notch higher, the office was downsizing from a 90,000-square-foot space to a 43,500-square-foot space, and employees were understandably concerned.

In an attempt to solve all of these challenges with one elegant solution, “We really focused on the idea of neighborhood design,” Hanley said. “We broke up a sea of desks into groups of 18 to 30 users, and every ‘neighborhood’ has familiar touch points such as lockers for flex employees, water, trash, etc.” Each neighborhood is a different bright color, which offers easy wayfinding and furthers employees’ sense of home. The layout offers equal access to front-row views of the cityscape from the 265 windows on the site.

The office also showcases Microsoft’s latest technology to customers. Upon entering the lobby, visitors walk up a 30-foot-tall staircase to a landing featuring an interactive, virtual moss wall. “It is technical, fun, and childlike,” Hanley said. “It’s a place where people can pause and think about their journey into the space.” Blitz echoed the moss wall with real living walls throughout the space, a slightly surreal move that blurs the borders between reality and technology. The firm extended the outdoor, organic aesthetic with textural flooring and canopies wrapped in a bleached-cork covering that resembles birch.

Although the project was a game changer for Blitz, which now has three ongoing projects with Microsoft in addition to work for Comcast and Yahoo, it was also pivotal for Microsoft. “Before this office, Microsoft was located in the outskirts of the city; it was almost like a castle in the sky,” Hanley said. “Now it is downtown, it is transparent, it engages with the city, and all the stuff that goes on outside its windows influences it day-to-day.”

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Endemic Architecture plays with San Francisco's vernacular architecture

Mind Your Mannerisms, a research-based exhibition by Oakland, California’s Endemic Architecture was on view at Jai & Jai Gallery in L.A.’s Chinatown. Clark Thenhaus, principal at Endemic Architecture, described the underlying thesis of the exhibition as one of working through a ubiquitous architectural feature of his newly adopted city, where turrets are part of the accepted vernacular, inscribed within the city’s zoning code, and sometimes clash with more prosaic urban issues like lack of affordable housing and a need for increased density. The exhibition includes line drawings showcasing existing variants of the corner turret, as well as new hypothetical configurations created by the designers as they process and attempt to understand the underlying tendencies of the eccentric and ornamented Victorian forms. These hypothetical configurations are recreated in approximately half-scale mock ups, some of which use full-scale building components salvaged from existing turrets.
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Japanese joinery with modern flair defines this San Francisco ramen spot

The recent proliferation of oh-so-chic ramen joints in cities across the country can sometimes mask what it is really all about: The ramen. In Japan, this fast, fragrant, noodle-and-broth dish is often found in nondescript establishments, tucked away from the bustling street. At Orenchi Beyond, the restaurant chain’s first San Francisco location, the ramen is front and center, starting with a floating, open kitchen anchoring the 1,800-square-foot space where patrons can see chefs at work behind a row of large, boiling soup pots. Taking its cue from Japan’s street culture and indigenous craftsmanship, the restaurant, designed by local firm Craig Steely Architecture, fuses the unfussy, Japanese-style ramen shop with a West Coast design sensibility.

To maximize the outdoor connection and exploit the temperate San Francisco climate, principal and founder Craig Steely decided to knock down the existing facade, which originally stood flat across the front of the building, and push it back 12 feet to create what he describes as an “interstitial room” or an “engawa space” between the street and restaurant interior. “In Japan, there isn’t that luxury to have this whole space, and it seemed like such a perfect opportunity,” Steely explained. “It feels different from other restaurants in the city where there is a hard, demarcating line. Here it is really indoor-outdoor and welcoming—eating and drinking outside is nice and communal. It’s a real mix of private and public space.”

The prismlike facade, punctuated by a red glass door, is made of Sakura wood and quietly references Japanese woodworking. “It was an attempt to build upon a language of Japanese carpentry,” said Steely. “I took the idea of those details and built it in a way that appreciates or riffs on Japanese joinery without it being authentically Japanese.” The permeable storefront allows for customers to be served outside through the windows.

In typical Japanese style, the restaurant bears no sign—in many ways, the crowd congregating outside around a 4,000-pound Yuba River basalt rock is the unofficial signage. Of course, the line of sake bottles in the window is also a not-so-subtle clue as to what lies inside.

Painstaking attention was paid to the details to reflect and pay homage to Japanese traditions, from the visual iconography to the craftsmanship. The stool seating is based on sake barrels, the brackets and handles are made of elm branches by artist Kenji Hasegawa, and the interior wood is from Paul Discoe’s Joinery Structures, who has worked on projects in Japan for several decades.

Contrasting this otherwise muted space are a massive, candy-colored mural of a fractal bear by local artists Ricardo Richey and Chad Hasegawa and tables featuring paintings with imagery from Japanese myths and Yakuza films, such as a dragon in the form of ramen with its tail spelling out “Orenchi.” For a restaurant named the “Beyond,” this West-meets-farther-West space is wholly appropriate.

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Renderings revealed for Foster + Partners' Waldorf Astoria in San Francisco

Renders have been revealed of what the Foster + Partners design for the Waldorf Astoria hotel in San Francisco could look like. Located in the South of Market (SoMa) district of the city, the building will sit on Mission Street between 1st and Eckert streets. The 21-story tower will also lie next to the Oceanwide Center tower designed by the British architecture firm, due to break ground in November this year. The tower is part of a two million-square-foot complex that will boast retail and spaces, the interiors of which—and indeed the whole interior of the building—will be designed by Santa Monica–based hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates. John Vanderslice, global head of luxury and lifestyle brands at Hilton Worldwide (the firm that manages Waldorf hotels), told Condé Nast Traveler that "San Francisco needed a proper luxury hotel." He went on to say that the "project is ground zero for luxury there" adding how the hotel will have "north of 250" rooms with a quarter of these being suites. Numerous restaurants are also due to be included in the programming of the scheme however, no mockups have yet been proposed with no chefs currently named either. The project will also be one of cluster from Foster + Partners in the vicinity. In 2014, the firm proposed a coterie of high-rises for the area and planning permission was granted this year. The building will also become San Francisco's second tallest tower, behind the Salesforce Tower. Meanwhile, rising to 905 feet, the tallest of the group will be located on 50 1st Street and contain 34 stories, with offices on 19 plus 111 residential units. Another tower, due to be 300 feet shorter, will offer 169 hotel rooms with 154 units being housed in the top 33 floors. Speaking of the projects in 2014, Norman Foster described the development as "incredibly exciting in urban and environmental terms," adding that "bringing together places to live and work with the city’s most important transport hub, the project further evolves a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that we have always promoted."
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San Francisco's Millennium Tower is tilting and sinking

The tallest residential tower in San Francisco, and the city's third tallest overall, has sunk 16 inches since it's opening in 2008, according to SFGate. Designed by Handel Architects, the Millennium Tower is one of the highest-profile buildings in the city with units selling as high as $12 million for a penthouse, one of which was owned by venture capitalist Thomas Perkins until his death earlier this year. Other notable residents include San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. Currently the Transbay Transit Center, a transit station and neighborhood development project, is under construction on an adjacent site. Its first phase is due to be completed in late 2017, but a study of the site conducted by Arup in 2010 found that the tower had already sunk ten inches. Initial predictions for the tower suggested that it would only sink six inches over its lifetime. Of added concern is the fact that the tower is not settling evenly, and now has a tilt of two inches. Professor Greg Deierlein of the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center at Stanford University told SFGate that these figures were "significant...and of concern," but not yet a threat to safety. However, the imbalance can lead to expensive maintenance costs down the road due to cracking walls and other structural issues. The Transbay Transit Center and the building's developer, Millennium Partners, have each placed blame for the tilt on the other. P.J. Johnson, a spokesperson for Millennium Partners, told SFGate that the nearby construction on the Transit Center caused the problem, suggesting that adequate measures were not taken to protect the tower during the excavation. Representatives of the Transit Center, on the other hand, have suggested that Millennium engineers cut costs and failed to anchor the building into the bedrock. The building also uses concrete rather than steel, and is therefore much heavier. It's unclear what steps developers will take to combat the issue, but it will likely involve expensive and complicated repairs.