The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter (AIASF) recently announced their selection of three competing proposals led by Groundworks Office, Kuth | Ranieri Architects, and Perkins Eastman to re-design Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco. The proposals were selected from responses to a public competition aimed at re-working the aging public space. According to a statement by the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, designs for the current plaza—a sunken brick- and concrete-lined stepped promenade with integrated seating sitting above the Castro Station subway stop—“fall short of being an inspiration for hope, change, and equality” in the neighborhood. Organizers of the competition seek to remake the plaza into an uplifting and accessible public gathering space by covering the below-ground portions with a new street-level plaza that can be used as a site of protest, celebration, and commemoration. The three finalist schemes posit various approaches for programming new ground-level areas as well as for how to integrate the plaza into the surrounding neighborhood. The existing plaza is punctuated by a large flag pole topped by a rainbow flag, which will remain after renovations. Kuth | Ranieri–led proposal Kuth | Ranieri’s proposal seeks to create a “living memorial and [neighborhood] destination” that functions as an “active and iconic space” symbolizing the national LGBT civil rights movement Milk ignited, according to a statement. The scheme utilizes brightly-colored glass-clad archways to highlight important nodes in the plaza, including the new subway entrance, a bus stop, and a new elevator. The glass panel structures are printed with scenes depicting scenes from Milk’s life in order to create an “integrated experiential memorial.” Down below the street level in the subway ticketing area, the glass panels frame a triangular skylight made from pink glass that will light the space from above. Kuth | Ranieri is joined on the team by RHAA Landscape Architecture and Planning and Catherine Wagner Studio. Perkins Eastman–led proposal The plaza was once used by Milk to give soapbox speeches—a fact the Perkins Eastman team interpreted in their scheme, which calls for topping the subway stop with a stepped-ramp amphitheater that can act as a“soapbox for many.” The structure would be punctuated by an elevator connecting the subway stop and the sidewalk. It would also be sandwiched between two bands of sidewalk that lead to a flat plaza at the corner. The southwestern end of the plaza would contain a grand entrance to the subway station capped by the highest end of the amphitheater. The scheme would also be populated by a multitude of street lights designed to symbolize the candlesticks used in the protest march commemorating Milk’s legacy that emanates from the plaza every year. The project team includes Arup as structural engineer, Propp + Guerin as graphic designer, Lightswitch SF, Inc. as lighting designer, and artist Cybele Lyle. Groundworks Office–led proposal Lastly, the Groundworks Office–led proposal calls for populating the new open plaza with a series of low, faceted masses containing integrated seating, a memorial wall, and a glass canopy for the subway entrance and bus stop along Market Street. The scheme is geared toward creating a “unified plaza that simplifies circulation to public transit” while also streamlining pedestrian routes between transit lines and along surrounding streets. The three proposals are undergoing a period of public comment until September 21st. To share input on the proposals, visit the competition website.
Posts tagged with "AIA San Francisco":
The American Institute of Architects San Francisco (AIASF) chapter will hold a housing forum on March 24th titled Envisioning San Francisco in 2100 that will focus on housing innovation for the San Francisco Bay Area. The forum will be moderated by architectural historian and Columbia University GSAPP Professor of Architecture Gwendolyn Wright and will work as a follow-up to a smaller convocation Wright presided over last fall. The forum will feature a keynote speech by Bay Area architect David Baker. Baker’s firm, David Baker Architects, works extensively across the Bay Area to promote and build innovative housing projects aimed at a variety of populations. Baker’s speech will be followed by a panel discussion and break-out sessions focused on issues relating to the use of public space, housing typologies, and housing finance and design with a special emphasis on what San Francisco’s housing stock might look like toward the beginning of the next century. Panelists for the debate portion of the event will include:
Adrianne Steichen, AIA, principal, PYATOK Alexa Arena, development manager, Lend Lease Allison Arieff, editorial director, SPUR + contributing writer, The New York Times Cynthia Parker, CEO, Bridge Housing Johanna Hoffman, landscape architect, Urban Fabrick Jonelle Simunich, foresight specialist, Arup Foresight + Research + Innovation Jeff Till, design principal, Studio Till Kearstin Dischinger, policy planner, citywide, San Francisco Planning Dept. Rachel Flynn, AIA, vice president of planning, FivePoint Lennar Housing, former planning director, City of Oakland Riki Nishimura, AIA, director of urban strategies, Gensler Sonja Trauss, principal, SFBARFFor more information on the event, see the AIASF website.
The NEXT Conference, sponsored by the AIA San Francisco, just concluded its first year, and The Architect’s Newspaper was there moderating two panels. Day one convened in a historic bayside dock transformed into a children’s Exploratorium. We moderated a session on the urban planning concept of "Placemaking" that featured David Burney, Jennifer Wolch, and two "makers," Anisha Gade and Sue Mark of the firm Marksearch. This relatively new way of thinking about planning, particularly marginalized and rapidly transforming the space of the city, is making inroads into city planning circles and art academies and joining these two practices. David Burney just launched the first academic Placemaking program in the country at Pratt Institute and described how the practice is training students to link policy to the use and ownership of public space. Jennifer Wolch Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley was more critical and nuanced about Placemaking. She wondered what happens when the makers leave a place and move on to another site? Might this practice inevitably be, Wolch wondered, just another gentrifying agent in an already rapidly changing neighborhood? The two Placemakers Gade and Mark presented their latest North Oakland project, Communities Crossing, that attempts to “reveal a community in search of its identity.” Follow-up questions debated various aspects of the practice but left the gentrification issue unresolved on the table. The audience and panelists from earlier sessions seemed thrilled to be in the company of other practitioners, so the harder questions about the long-term impact of the practice were not addressed. The second day of the conference moved to the sagging modernist San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park. In a session labeled "Business," we moderated a panel, Architects & Social Media, with Kenneth Caldwell, Amanda Walter, and architect Mark English. Caldwell a communications consultant to architects argued that designer featured profiles in traditional or “earned” media are difficult to come by and that today most architects would be better served to have a social media strategy targeted to their existing networks. This he considers professional “owned media.” But he argued content in these media streams should be delivered personally to key those contacts nurtured over many years. Walter was more direct. She wrote the book Social Media in Action: Comprehensive Guide for Architecture, Engineering, Planning and Environmental Consulting Firms, which is the bible for design firms trying to figure out marketing. Water claimed they should “consider what issues and challenges their potential clients are looking for online and then develop and share content that helps them." Mark English, a San Francisco architect who specializes in single-family homes and entertainment projects, spends 10 hours a week promoting his practice on various social media sites. He also claimed that he has gotten four major projects in the last year from his personal blog posts and other media posts. This session had a flurry of audience responses and questions to these media professionals from both older architects trying to understand this media landscape and young designers just starting out and wanting to know how to position their firms. Created by the earned media, this panel highlighted the difficulties of owned media. The NEXT Conference was lightly attended and suffered from being staged in two venues (each with its own problems) across the city, but hopefully the organizers will learn from this first event and give San Francisco the professional conference it deserves "NEXT" year.
Home: My San Francisco AIA San Francisco Center For Architecture + Design Gallery San Francisco Through October 31 Home: My San Francisco is an exhibition designed by Julie Blankenship in collaboration with photographer Julie Sadowski examining the rapidly evolving design of domestic space in response to changing views of identity, family, work, life, technology, and sustainability. The show captures the narrative environments contained within the city’s indoor and built environments through photographs, supplemented with an online collection of images, interviews with residents, architectural drawings, and texts. Contents span a wide variety of architectural styles and neighborhoods, including single-family homes, contemporary renovations, cohousing, and multi-family residences. A few of the examples are Curran House, high-density affordable housing in the Tenderloin by David Baker Architects; Embassy in Lower Haight, an example of creative cohousing and the home of Reallocate.org; and a mid-century Forest Hills mansion built for baseball hero Willie Mays by Al Maisin.
In one of the few towns where the AIA has serious pull, the AIA San Francisco has named Jennifer Jones as its new Executive Director. Longtime HMC principal Kate Diamond has left her position and is looking for a new job. While it pales in comparison to the news that AECOM has merged with URS, forming the biggest firm in the galaxy, WSP has bought “global design giant” Parsons Brinckerhoff for $1.35 billion. That’s no joke either. Finally, after more than six years of waiting, SOM has begun work on its massive redevelopment of the WWII-era housing development, Park Merced. In San Francisco that’s like waiting for fifteen minutes.
After 12 years at the helm of AIA San Francisco, Margie O'Driscoll announced Monday that she is stepping down as its Executive Director. Under O'Driscoll the chapter initiated several significant programs, tapping into the city's passion for architecture, design, and social conscience. These include its home tours (the first of its kind in the Bay Area); the hugely popular Architecture and the City Festival; measures and collaborations to address issues like licensure, intern development, and pro bono work; and, with local radio station KALW, the successful show 99 percent invisible. The chapter also undertook a renovation of its offices inside the historic Hallidie Building. "The more we tried the more enthusiastic and even insatiable the public became about the programs we did," said O'Driscoll. (Photo: Courtesy Margie O'Driscoll)
Can better design save lives? That question is at the center of a proposal by Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA) to transform crosswalks along San Francisco’s Divisadero Street. The project, Sous Les Paves, originated in a GOOD design challenge by the Center for Architecture and Design. With help from AIA San Francisco, OPA partnered with local advocacy organization Walk San Francisco in a bid to improve pedestrian safety at street crossings. The proposal couldn’t be more timely. According to Walk San Francisco, at least three pedestrians have died in city crosswalks since New Year’s Eve alone. OPA began its design with a rudimentary pedestrian-safety tool: the bulb-out, which projects the sidewalk into the street. But while bulb-outs increase visibility, they also make pedestrians more vulnerable. OPA Principal Zoë Prillinger explained: “Our first thought was, when we looked at the curb extension, was that it should be modified to protect the pedestrian.” The designers elected to build protective ridges along the edge of each bulb-out. This led to a second thought. “If you’re building up the curb extension, what else can it do? If you’re creating a kind of public space, what can we do to augment that public space?” OPA hit upon the idea of treating the protective ridges as planters, creating a new kind of green space at pedestrian crossings. At an urban scale, these mini-parks would connect to median plantings and, eventually, city parks. The designers chose Divisadero Street for their project in part because its traffic lanes are separated by a median. “Median strips [create] a kind of link between intersections, a language of green space: median strips, curb extensions,” Prillinger said. “[You] start to see streets stitched together by these green moments.” As for the architectural language of the crosswalks themselves, OPA employed a variation on the black-and-white zebra crossing. The diagonal hatch extends into the sidewalk as well as the street. “The hatch implies a dual condition,” Prillinger explained. “It’s kind of a hybrid condition. We’re thinking of streets as a place where both cars and pedestrians belong.” OPA’s relatively simple design, comprising the hatch pattern, curb ridges, and median ridges, is a kit of parts designed for flexible use around the city. The firm “created a language that’s modular, that can fit different situations, to create a kind of new public space,” Prillinger said. That language, moreover, could be used to help define an area, like Divisadero Street, that doesn’t yet have a distinct aesthetic identity. “San Francisco is conservative, it’s very hard for planners even to think about doing anything that has a real presence,” Prillinger said. At the same time, “There are real opportunities [to do things] that are more consciousness-raising.” OPA worked with the city Planning Department late last year to outline some of the obstacles to implementing Sous Les Paves. Next, the designers will meet with the Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA), representatives of the Fire Department, and other stakeholders to explore opportunities to realize the design. “I really would like some element of this project to get off the ground,” Prillinger said. “It would be lovely for San Francisco to do something that’s not just progressive environmentally, but also combines progressive architectural language.”
Unbuilt San Francisco Multiple venues San Francisco Through November 2013 AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design, California Historical Society/SPUR, The Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkley, and the San Francisco Public Library present this ambitious collaborative exhibition of architecture that never came to be. Spread throughout five venues, Unbuilt San Francisco describes a parallel history of “what if’s” and “could have beens” of architecture and urban design that were too fantastic or too grandiose for the City by the Bay. These unrealized visions offer San Franciscans a glimpse of the hopes and ambitions of past generations, as well as provide inspiration for the future of architecture and the city. Images offered in the exhibition include a grand casino on Alcatraz, freeways encircling the city, rejected neighborhood renewal plans, alternate designs for famous landmarks including San Francisco City Hall and the Ferry Building, and ecological provocations of today’s architectural vanguard. The opening reception will be held in Annie Alley between 678 and 654 Mission Street in San Francisco on September 6 at 5:00 p.m.
After spending a while at the AIA convention in San Francisco, we're excited about new architecture there. One of the highlights of the trip was the AIA SF's announcement of the winners of New Practices San Francisco, a juried competition based on the work of firms who have been practicing in the Bay Area since 1999 or later (yours truly, AN editor Sam Lubell, was on the jury, which also included Ila Berman, Director of Architecture, California College of the Arts, as well as architects Anne Fougeron, Jim Jennings, and Cathy Simon). The winners will be featured in an exhibition at the Center For Architecture in New York from June 4-September 19, and then the exhibition will be on display at the AIA San Francisco Center For Architecture + Design Gallery from November 12-January 29, 2010. And without further ado, here they are below, along with snippets of their amazing work: Winners Edmonds + Lee Architects Faulders Studio Kennerly Architecture + Planning Min|Day Public Architecture CMG Landscape Architecture Honorable Mentions Axelrod Design Envelope A+D