Posts tagged with "Mayor Ed Lee":

Placeholder Alt Text

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol to design San Francisco Shoreline Parks at the India Basin Waterfront

Seattle-based Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) will design Shoreline Parks and 900 Innes along the India Basin coastline. GGN was awarded the commission after coming first in the design ideas competition put forward by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department and the Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

According to the brief, the competition encouraged candidates to "reimagine" the two locations around India Basin Shoreline Park in order to establish a "spectacular and seamless 1.5-mile-long network of public parks on the City’s southeast shoreline."

Well-recognized in the field of landscape architecture, the firm already has designed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago, North End Parks in Boston.

The India Basin Waterfront Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan, a public-private planning consortium is also underway, taking a regulatory stance to safeguard the project and make sure that the developments  "along the 1.5-mile shoreline eventually look, feel and operate as a coherent, comprehensive, and integrated parks system."

“As our City continues to grow, we are committed to the sustainability of our City by making investments in parkland that enhance our world class waterfront,” said San Francisco mayor Ed Lee in a press release. “I’m pleased with the progress of the India Basin Waterfront that ensures a legacy for future generations to come.” 

GGN fought off competition from 19 other proposals including one from AECOM and a joint submission from SWA and Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects. A PDF, part of GGN's winning submission, can be found here.

“We are honored to be entrusted to work with India Basin's neighbors and visitors, to enhance the things that people already treasure about this gem of a site,” said founding principal of GGN, Shannon Nichol. “India Basin includes a rare expanse of original tideflats and preserved boatyard architecture. Our approach to the competition further softened the shoreline, added walking routes across Innes Avenue between the water and the neighborhood, and sized the park's spaces for everyday activities. We look forward to working with the community to test and hone that initial approach with the full input of neighbors and the people who will be using this park every day.”

Situated in a remote untouched alcove of San Francisco, the brownfield site that is the India Basin offers rare opportunity for the city to confront environmental and ecological issues with the implementation of a park complex. Currently, the site has little to offer in the way of amenities, but landscape development could see an influx of visitors to the area, to which business would undoubtedly follow. 

As for the competition, five necessities were put in place. These included continuous connector trails, bike paths, increased access to the shoreline, and enhanced habitats and gathering spaces. As for the historic landmark of the Shipwright’s Cottage at 900 Innes, submissions required a brief outline of how this would be restored. After being announced as winners, GGN will seek to install a "21st-century legacy park" with particular focus on "public access, recreation, resiliency, and habitat enhancement."  

Placeholder Alt Text

Fight over how to use Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts reflects San Francisco tensions

A battle is brewing in San Francisco’s Marina District over the fate of the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda and the adjacent structure that formerly housed the Exploratorium. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, the Palace of Fine Arts is a historic remnant of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, but only the Beaux Arts rotunda and colonnade are designated landmarks. San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department is currently vetting long-term tenants for the vacant shed-like building. In June, the commission issued a Request for Concept Proposals and received seven proposals, which included both for- and nonprofit ideas including a hotel, a recreation center, arts and technology lab, a food pavilion, and a museum. This month, the commission narrowed the field to three and a final selection is expected by summer. At issue is whether or not the 144,000-square-foot palace, including the former Exploratorium space and theater will remain an arts and education center open to the public, or if it would house a more commercial enterprise such as a fitness club or hotel. Advocating for the former, S.F. resident Kristen Selberg created an online petition asking for Mayor Ed Lee and the Rec & Parks to preserve the Palace of Fine Arts for cultural use. “These things are important to San Franciscans, especially with what we’re dealing with right now, such rapid change in The City that’s not necessarily for the best,” Selberg told the San Francisco Examiner, conveying a sentiment familiar to many in San Francisco who feel that Mayor Lee is a bit too cozy to private interests. “San Franciscans are just begging to hang on to something for themselves and for The City.”
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco City Hall light show proposal sparks anti-advertising controversy

In 1915, when San Francisco’s City Hall, designed by Bakewell & Brown, opened to the public after the Great Earthquake destroyed an earlier edifice, architect Arthur Brown, Jr. couldn’t have predicted that a digital light show would grace the Beaux-Arts building a century later. But, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently proposed just that—his plan would allow for corporations and city events to use the east façade for projected light and multimedia displays. https://youtu.be/u8fY585emEM The San Francisco Examiner reported that the proposal immediately opened up a debate about whether civic structures should be used for commercial purpose and calls attention to the blurry boundaries of public-private partnerships, especially between the city and tech companies. In a text message to the paper, supervisor John Avalos expressed his concern that the display is an advertising opportunity for local companies. The mayor’s office contends it is an expression of creativity to enhance special events held on Civic Center Plaza. “Like City Hall brought to you by Facebook, Salesforce, Big Brother of Public Private Partnerships Ron Conway?” he wrote, referencing one of Mayor Lee’s most prominent backers. “What’s next, selling naming rights for City Hall and all the other Civic Center buildings?” he continued. John Updike, San Francisco’s director of Real Estate, countered that there would be tight controls on the displays. A July 27 letter to the Board of Supervisors spelled out the limitations:
The content of displays shall be City-approved government speech. This ordinance does not open the east facade of City Hall as a public forum, or non-public forum, for nongovernmental speech, nor shall it be open to general advertising signs.
The rooftop installation of two projectors on Asian Arts Museum and the Main Public Library comes with $1.5 million price tag. The cost would be covered by a private fund related to San Francisco’s Centennial Celebration. All aspects of the installation on the historic buildings require review by the Historic Preservation Commission.
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco Passes Major Earthquake Retrofit Measure

A big one hasn't hit California for a little while, which means it's the perfect time to enact more stringent retrofit legislation. Just in case, you know... Near the end of last month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed into law the city's new mandatory soft-story retrofit program, which calls for retrofits to buildings with large openings for storefronts or garages. There are quite a few in the city: 2,800, home to about 58,000 people and 2,000 businesses, according to the Mayor's office. The city estimates that between 43 and 85 percent of these buildings would be unsafe after a 7.2 earthquake in the area. The law requires that such buildings be evaluated for possible upgrades, which would be phased in over several years. The scary news: according to San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) about a quarter of the city's overall housing stock will provide adequate shelter after a major earthquake. Hopefully this measure will improve those statistics.
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco Mayor Pledges Improved Transit

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has seen some success in his time in office. But one element still remains a thorn in his side: MUNI, the city's transit agency. In his State of the City address the other day (watch full speech below) Lee vowed to improve the notoriously late and overcrowded system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. "We need to modernize our system...to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work, and shop," said Lee. A few remedies that Lee has suggested: the formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the system and dealing with the city's growing population; expansion of BART, the Bay Area's regional transit system; new work rule reforms; and a bevy of new technologies. "Truly great cities have great transportation systems—Paris, New York, London, Tokyo," Lee said. "I say San Francisco is pretty great, too, and deserves one as well." The city is in fact adding a new transit line, the downtown T-Central, to help alleviate congestion problems. It's slated to open in 2019. Check out images of the city's upcoming line below.