Posts tagged with "AIA SF":

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Re-Defining Home: New competition wants designers to rethink home in an age of unaffordability

Home Matters, a national movement dedicated to raising awareness about the need for affordable housing, has launched a competition called "Re-defining Home: A Design Challenge." As the name suggests, the competition (partnered with AIA chapters around the country, and funded in part by the  Wells Fargo Housing Foundation) seeks to re-define the home of the future, with a focus on solutions for affordability and a new conception of home,  beyond “four walls.” safe_image.php Architects and designers are being asked to improve connections between housing and surrounding communities, considering how housing impacts health, education, individual success, public safety, and economic growth. Calling itself the first competition to focus on affordable housing and its social implications on a national scale, Re-defining Home was structured with input from experts from affordable housing, architecture, cognitive science, medicine, and environmentalism. The Home Matters organization was launched in 2013 in an effort to “redefine the American Dream,” drawing attention to the nation’s housing crisis and the importance of home as part of a broader social fabric. Awards totaling $18,000 will be given to three juried submissions. A multidisciplinary jury will be announced soon. The first place winner will be presented at a public exhibition—details forthcoming. Registration opened on December 2 and closes on May 1.
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“Architecture of Consequence” Opens in San Francisco

Last night, the AIA SF launched a new exhibition, Architecture of Consequence: San Francisco, kicking off a whole slew of events in its annual Architecture in the City Festival, the country's biggest such celebration of the built environment. The exhibit explores important social needs that architects can address and features the work of four San Francisco firms—Iwamoto Scott Architecture, Fletcher Studio, SOM, and Envelope A+D—side-by-side with four Dutch firms—Van Bergen Kolpa Architecten, 2012 Architecten, ZUS (Zones Humaines Sensibles), and OMA. Originally conceived by the Netherlands Architecture Institute in 2009, this spin-off of the internationally touring exhibit shows that similar preoccupations are on the minds of architects everywhere—whether it's renewable energy, adaptive reuse, local food production, or thoughtful urban infill. David Fletcher gave the whole exhibit a major boost of local flava with Beta-Bridge (above), "a radical reinvention and reuse of the soon-to-be-demolished eastern span of the existing Bay Bridge." He proposed to load the upper deck of the bridge with medical cannabis greenhouses and the lower deck with a data farm; the water used to irrigate the cannabis plants would circulate down and cool off the chugging servers. On the other end of the scale, OMA revisualized the world in terms of energy. In lieu of standard geopolitical boundaries, it divided the European continent into areas such as Biomassburg, Carbon Capture and Storage Republic (CCSR), and Solaria. The exhibition continues through October 21, and each of the San Francisco firms has been paired up with a Dutch firm to give a discussion about their shared interest over the course of the month (see schedule of talks). The Architecture and the City Festival runs through the end of the month, with in-depth tours of new projects such as Bar Agricole (September 10), the ever-popular Home Tours (September 17-18), and a unique opportunity to experience what it's like to navigate the city without sight ("Acoustic Wayfinding for the Blind," (September 20) led by architect Chris Downey, who talked about losing his sight in a 2010 issue of AN). Check out the full calendar of events.
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Presenting the Winners of the AIA SF Awards

On Thursday, the architecturati were at the War Memorial Performing Arts Center's Green Room to see who won in this year's AIA SF Awards. This year only saw 27 awards presented, half the number of last year's 54--perhaps an indication of how hard the economic downturn has hit this area. But despite the shorter program, there was no shortage of distinctive projects. Taking home top honors in the Architecture category was Ogrydziak Prillinger's Gallery House (photo at top), which impressed the jury for its "reinterpretation of the San Francisco bay window," among other things. Alas, the  images that were shown while the virtues of the house were being described were of HOK's Merit-winning library in Saudi Arabia,  the one glitch in the evening. Interestingly, the other Honor winner for Architecture was EHDD's Marin Country Day School, which is not only a graceful building rendered in wood and steel, it is also net-zero-energy and LEED Platinum. Since EHDD got the nod for Architecture, as opposed to Energy + Sustainability, it's a indication that the profession is starting to value design and sustainability together as a package. Mark Cavagnero's sensitive additions to the Oakland Museum of California and Perkins+Will's careful restoration of the Presidio Landmark were singled out in the historical preservation category. This category is a recent addition to the awards lineup, but one that should continue to have some great entries. In interiors, an amused murmur went up in the crowd when they learned about Sand Studios' medical marijuana dispensary, SPARC, which took home a Citation award.  But the biggest laugh of the evening came when the picturesque Honor winner for unbuilt work was announced: Anderson Anderson Architecture's Lips Tower, described as a "thirsty urban utility, sucking water and solar energy from the sky."
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New Age Modern

The houses showcased in this year’s AIA SF Home Tours in Marin County have a common theme in their responsive attitude to the landscape; permeable skins allowing a transparent transition between interior and exterior, embedding into their sites, and visually enlarging the volume of their comparatively modest footprints on steeply situated hillside lots. Each of the homes have unassuming public facades, displaying a circumspect propriety among its neighbors. The architecture of these residences say as much about their setting as the spaces inside. The heavily wooded and circuitous single lane roads of Mill Valley necessitated the use of shuttle buses to travel to several of the homes. The town’s residential architecture reveals its historical evolution from mill town to beatnik refuge to hippie commune, to wealthy upper middle-class San Francisco enclave. The Sausalito Residence by 450 Architects recalls the boxy residential minimalism of William Wurster. Its steel frame is wrapped by an FSC certified wood skin and interior finishes milled by the contractor Quantum Builders, who are part of the Passive House movement in California. Inside, the open plan living and dining room opens out to expansive views of Richardson Bay. Its copper roof collects rainwater for the home’s cistern, while its glass facades serve to bring in light and warmth to this passive solar house design. The extensive electronic circuitry pervading the automated functions of the house can be controlled from the owner’s mobile phone. The stark enclosed volumes of the Portnoy Danzig Residence in Mill Valley by Sharon Portnoy Design shut off noise and traffic on the street side; by contrast, the interior living and dining spaces have a glass façade that wraps around a lawn with views of Mount Tampalpais beyond. Clean lines, natural wood and concrete, and use of spot colors enliven the rooms of this very family oriented residence. The Lovell House was a labor of love by architects Cecilia and Alfred Quezada, who spent 14 years renovating and expanding the original 1950s shed roof redwood box house for themselves. Though the architects grew the house from 1000 to almost 4000 square feet, the building manages to rest on the property rather discreetly, retaining low sightlines and instead preferring to build down into the hillside. An architect’s potpourri of materials is shown in the building’s exposed steel siding, maple, cherry, and fir walls and cabinets, monolithic black granite countertops, marble slab walls, and exposed concrete foundations. Extensive use of steel sash windows recall the original industrial windows, while translucent Kalwall ceilings bring in bright diffuse light into the kitchen and living areas. Architect Scott Lee’s Hillside Residence, situated on a steeply angled lot, necessitated building up four levels to capture space and views. Meticulously detailed and constructed by contractor McDonald Construction and Development, this LEED Platinum certified house has the zen feel of a luxury spa, unsurprisingly since one of the owners is a spa development executive. The owners, contractor, and interior designer Erin Martin worked closely with a multitude of talented metal, wood, and concrete craftspeople to create a warm and sophisticated handcrafted aesthetic that takes advantage of local artisans and recycled materials. The relatively modest sizes of the interior spaces are enlarged by opening up to expansive outdoor decks, incorporating surrounding views. The anomaly and arguably the highlight of the tour was a project done fifty years earlier by architect Daniel Liebermann, and recently renovated with tactful discretion by Vivian Dwyer. Studying at the Harvard GSD during the Gropius era and apprenticing with Wright (he worked on the Marin County Civic Center), Liebermann’s work seems to have experienced a bit of a reconsideration in light of the recent buzz around sustainable design; his projects remind us that the modernists were interested in green building long before it was fashionable and associated with filling out a list of design credits. The quirky crescent shaped design of the 1960 Radius House (a cross of Wright, Bruce Goff, and Mill Valley vernacular) which Liebermann built for himself, springs out of a spiralling helix of metal columns supporting a radiating assymmetrical timber roof. The house is constructed from recycled wood, local stone, and uses a concrete slab floor for passive heating, and a double shell roof for ventilation and services. Nestled into the hillside, its compact 850 square feet footprint is miniscule by today’s standards, yet feels much larger because of its long curvilinear open plan and continuous glass facade facing a forested canyon view. A massive hand laid stone fireplace helps to bind the house to its site, and serves to reinforce the idea that a house can be situated as part of the landscape, rather than being simply relating to it. It is a lesson well worth appreciating in understanding what sustainable design thinking can be today.
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AIA SF Awards

Once again our friend Stanley Saitowitz—San Francisco architecture's answer to Meryl Streep— took home the most honors at the AIA SF's annual awards, held at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center last Thursday. Saitowitz took home prizes for his elegant, and relatively affordable, Tampa Museum of Art, his screen-obsessed Costa Rica house, and his effervescent Toast Restaurant in Novato, CA, which the jury described as "like walking inside a loaf of bread…..like swimming in sparkling champagne…." . Other big winners included Jensen Architects, noted for their SFMOMA rooftop garden and Walden Studios in Sonoma; EHDD, which took home awards for its UC Merced Science and Engineering Building and its Pritzker Family Children's Zoo in Lincoln Park, IL; and Min Day, which took home prizes for its L Residence and its Community CROPS Center, both in Nebraska.