Posts tagged with "Oakland":

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Fougeron Architecture transforms a 1920s building into a home for organizations fighting for tech industry diversity

Like a big house accommodating different family members, the new Kapor Center needed to support three distinct-but-related organizations: Kapor Capital, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, and the Level Playing Field Institute. Each needed to share modern offices and venues for gatherings, tours, and discussions, all in one building, but without leaving each function isolated and cut-off. Additionally, the design had to fit within an existing 1920s building on an irregular site in the heart of Oakland, California. All three groups are dedicated to increasing the tech industry's diversity, though approach the challenge from different angles: Kapor Capital invests in companies that address social inequalities, the Center builds partnerships to increase Oakland residents' access to the tech sector, and the Institute tackles barriers to minorities learning STEM subjects. All three groups are also the work of tech industry veterans Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein; the husband-and-wife team held a design competition and tapped San Francisco–based Fougeron Architecture to build a new Center to consolidate their efforts. "We love mission-driven architecture," said firm founder Anne Fougeron. "For us, it represents, in some ways, the furthering of the missions we had with Planned Parenthood," a longstanding and repeat client for Fougeron Architecture. At the heart of Fougeron's pitch were two cylindrical volumes located atop one another that could unite the project's diverse programming. The bottom volume connects the ground floor to a lower level that features a double-height auditorium. The upper volume, which cuts through a range of workspaces, is topped by a channel glass oculus and an extensive rooftop terrace. The Kapors were sold: "I wanted to create some verticality... connections between the floors, but also visual connections that you remember," Fougeron said. "Almost a mnemonic device. You would always feel, while you were in the building, that you had an understanding of what the floors were like and what people were doing there." In addition to creating an open and democratic environment, the volumes could impress visitors and host the diverse social functions that come with the business and nonprofit world. "Freada wanted this integrated building, one that had a fair amount of pizzazz," added Fougeron. "She wanted something people would walk into and go 'wow.'" The 45,000-square-foot project's biggest challenge was the existing structure, which had been repeatedly remodeled over the years. But demolishing it wasn't an option: "For [the Kapors], reusing the building is about this respect of place in Oakland." Reusing 75% of the existing building also helped the project attain LEED Gold certification. Other sustainable features included bicycle parking, low flow fixtures, natural ventilation strategies, and recycled materials such as glass tile, redwood, and carpet tile. The newly-added fourth floor, in addition to its green roof, drought-tolerant plants, and heat-reducing wood decking (all other LEED pluses), features the oculus itself, which glows at night. The illuminated capstone not only distinguishes the Center but simultaneously symbolizes its "role to grow outward and upward within the community,"  as the firm wrote in a press release.
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Rockefeller Foundation awards $4.6-million to fight sea level rise in Bay Area

This week, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded $4.6 million to the Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge team, a collection of San Francisco Bay Area organizations looking to use a public competition to develop approaches for fortifying the region’s infrastructure against the growing threat of climate change and sea level rise. The funds will allow this collection of municipal and non-profit organizations to develop regionally- and ecologically-focused infrastructural resiliency schemes throughout 10 sites spread across the Bay Area. The competition timeline will be divided into two phases. First, starting in April, the teams will participate in a three-month-long research and community engagement exercise aimed at developing initial design concepts for the specific sites with a "multi-faceted approach to resiliency." The teams will then have five months to design—working with community members and local municipalities—implementable infrastructure projects. Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge is modeled after the Rockefeller Foundation’s Rebuild by Design Hurricane Sandy Design Competition developed in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. Bay Area: Resilient by Design will work closely with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities network, which is organized to assist 100 cities around the world in building urban resilience. The Bay Area region is home to three network cities—San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland—and is already in the midst of planning for future perils. Those three cities worked in 2016 to develop future-oriented resiliency strategies that will now influence the forthcoming competition. Allison Brooks, executive director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC)—an organization that coordinates the planning efforts of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)—speaking to The Architect’s Newspaper over telephone, said, “We’re bringing in people from all over the world who have been grappling with this issue." Brooks and fellow organizers behind Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge will spend the next several months identifying sites across the Bay Area to feature in the competition while also working with local communities to identify specific needs. Brooks added, "We're not responding to a catastrophic disaster but a slow-moving disaster. The region has organized its most dense development and valuable infrastructure around a Bay that is expanding as a result of sea level rise.” Recent studies indicate that the level of the bay may rise between three- and four-feet between now and 2100. The nine-county region surrounding the San Francisco Bay is home to roughly 7-million inhabitants and is especially threatened by sea level rise, as many of the region’s key population and economic centers are located along the bay itself. For more information on the competition, see the Rebuild by Design website.
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Oakland makes a last-ditch effort to keep the Raiders

For the Oakland Raiders, when it rains, it pours. Officials in Oakland, California announced yet another plan to try and keep the cherished Oakland Raiders football team from moving to Las Vegas: A new $1.25 billion, 55,000-seat Oakland Raiders stadium to replace the existing Oakland Alameda Coliseum. The plan includes reserving space for a new Oakland A’s baseball team ballpark, a sizeable commercial development, and potentially a “Grand Central Station-like” transit connection to the regional Bay Area Rapid Transit system that would welcome fans to the game. Unlike Las Vegas’s proposal—a $1.9 billion, 65,000 seat stadium designed by Manica Architecture and funded predominantly with $750 million in public money and $650 million in cash from billionaire Sheldon Adelson—the Oakland proposal would not require any public money to be built. Instead, the East Bay Times reports, the plans is to issue city-backed bonds worth $200 million to be paid back with revenues generated by the stadium’s new commercial properties to help pay for the stadium. Those funds will be augmented with money from the National Football League (NFL) and an investment group in order fully fund the new stadium. A portion of those city-backed bonds would also be used to pay back the roughly $95 million in debt the city still has stemming from the last renovation to the Coliseum, which took place in the 1990s. The Oakland Alameda Stadium is the last stadium in the country to function as a dual baseball-football complex, so the Oakland A’s—themselves considering a move to a different site in Oakland—are being offered a carrot as part of the deal, though the details of their stadium are still unclear. Plans released by the city indicate the baseball team will have a 15-acre plot reserved for their new stadium and also mention that the Golden State Warriors’ arena could become a part of the development proposal if the team moves to San Francisco, as is currently planned. A design team has not been announced for the Oakland proposal, but city and regional leaders are meeting Tuesday to set the plan in motion. The big question is whether the Raiders, already more-or-less committed to the Las Vegas move, will take the time to hear out Oakland’s proposal. One thing missing from the proposal: housing. Many new football stadiums, including the HKS-designed complex in Inglewood, California for the Los Angeles Rams, include housing components as part of the stadium design or are situated within neighborhood fabric. Some see the plan’s missing housing component as a missed opportunity to have the team’s continued presence in the rapidly-changing, gentrification-prone borough meaningfully contribute to the area’s economy, especially in light of the recent Ghost Ship disaster.
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After Oakland, here’s how architects can help make DIY spaces safer

In the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire that has claimed dozens of lives so far, two architects are putting together building resources to make DIY spaces safer. Princeton, New Jersey–based Melissa J. Frost and Seattle-based Susan Surface are deeply familiar with DIY (do-it-yourself) spaces like the Oakland Ghost Ship, the live/work space where at least 36 people lost their lives this weekend. These buildings, often repurposed relics of bygone industry, are unofficial but beloved venues, artists' studios, or both. In many cities, DIY spaces flourish in plain sight of authorities but lack the resources to acquire permits or renovate their structures up to code. In light of the Oakland fire, Frost has created a "resource-in-progress" site, safer spaces, for people in need of or offering immediate services like housing and food, as well as longer-term resources for existent venues. So far, the site has a forum for artists to request project assistance or building services, and a growing list of DIY structural harm reduction measures. At this time, Frost and Surface are collaborating on a more in-depth response, soliciting input from others rebuilding after the tragedy:
Our immediate focus is on serving the needs of DIY venues and the people who visit them. We are now working day and night to make sense of available information and others’ efforts, and organize it into usable form. The vast amount of information available, and the unique conditions of each venue, make it impossible for us to be comprehensive, thorough, or perfect. But we intend to compile an affordable and accessible starting point that empowers our community members to implement harm reduction strategies that will improve the spaces where we gather.
In a public online statement, the duo say fellow architects, engineers, accessibility experts, firefighters, acousticians, and others have reached out with contributions. Readers in need of aid or those who would like to share their expertise can find more information here.
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Oakland invites designers to reimagine the spaces under the I-880 Freeway

A new two-stage competition, launched by the city of Oakland, is calling for the "best talent" in "urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, lighting design, engineering, transportation planning, acoustics, public art and community engagement." Dubbed "Walk this Way: The Broadway/Webster Project," its winners will embark on a $400,000 upgrade of Oakland's underpasses and pedestrian walkways underneath the I-880 Freeway as part of a scheme to "reimagine a new future for this key area of Downtown."
The competition brief stipulates that design teams may be "led or co-led by a firm specializing in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, or engineering" and encourages collaboration with local firms. "Walk this Way: The Broadway/Webster Project aims to transform the areas around, under and through the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses of the I-880 into a beautiful, safe, walkable, inviting, green and iconic passageway connecting Downtown Oakland and the Waterfront," the brief continues. The I-880 interstate has become a hotspot for the homeless in Oakland, though the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses serve as key pedestrian and vehicular veins between Old Oakland, Chinatown, Jack London District, and the nearby city of Alameda. Subsequently, submissions to the competition must look to enhance this urban experience through various means such as lighting, landscaping, architecture, art, wayfinding, and urban design and planning, as well imagining new uses for the area.
Winners of the competition are due to be announced in March 2017. Below are outlines of the competitions two phases: Phase I • Develop an inspiring and implementable design for a set of beautiful, safe, walkable, inviting, green, and iconic passageways between Downtown Oakland and the Waterfront by reimagining the area surrounding and including the Broadway and Webster Street underpasses of the I-880 Freeway (including 1 block north, 1 block south, 1 block east and 1 block west from each of the underpasses); • Develop a template of design elements that can be applied to other underpasses in the future; • Conduct community engagement to garner public input; • Develop construction drawings (35%) and a cost estimate for implementation; Phase II • Develop construction documents for bidding (100%); • Support the City to secure approvals and permits; • Provide construction management support. More information detailing further guidelines and how to submit can be found here.
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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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Oakland wants George Lucas’s Museum

Back in San Francisco in early 2014, the Presidio Trust rejected revised plans for three different cultural space options on an 8-acre site. One idea was a proposal for George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art in The Presidio, a 1,500-acre park in northern San Francisco. He then abandoned his San Francisco plans to build a museum to house his cinema, digital, and narrative art collections. He went to Chicago, where his wife grew up. But the proposed Chicago site has faced lengthy disputes. Nonprofits are worried that his 300,000-square-foot museum on land near Burnham Harbor would set a new precedent for private lakefront development on land that is protected for public use. The proposed site is currently a Chicago Bears' football parking lot. The city intends to lease the land for 99 years at a cost of only ten dollars. Beijing–based firm MAD Architects was tapped for the $700 million project that has been mired in legal disputes for over a year. Now, George Lucas may have another option: reconsider the Bay area. According to the San Francisco Business Times, the City of Oakland is trying to get his attention. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's spokeswoman, Erica Terry Derryck, told the Business Times: “If plans for a museum in Chicago do not come to fruition, we’d be thrilled to explore the possibility of this exciting project coming to life in Oakland.” So far, we wait until mid-April, when federal judge John W. Darrah comes to a decision on whether construction on the Chicago project can start.
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Oakland Misses Affordable Housing Opportunity

More people are living in urban areas. We all know younger millennials are choosing more urban lifestyles and rents are rising. Much has been written about micro-housing, from Seattle to New York’s Carmel Place by nArchitects. Will these types of units help make housing more affordable? The issue of housing in urban centers—especially affordable housing—is a great and complex issue. On the west coast, cities like L.A. and San Francisco have a notorious shortage. Seattle, dealing with rapid growth, is trying to do things a little differently. Mayor Murray has launched the Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), with an action plan that proposes rethinking density upzoning by 16 percent of Seattle and building 20,000 affordable housing units in the next ten years through public and private funding. Sometimes, though, it seems two steps forward means one step back. In California this Tuesday, Oakland’s City Council approved market-rate housing on a parcel of publicly owned land near Lake Merritt in a 6-1 vote. This could allow a developer to build a luxury condo on the site. The vote shot down an alternative, the E. 12th Street People’s Proposal, which called for a different use for the land—affordable and mixed housing. The E. 12th Street proposal called for 133 units, housing just over 700 people. The proposal put the cost of development at a little over $46,000,000, with funding that could have come from a mix of sources including state and federal grants.
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Oakland Uber Alles: Gensler unveils new East Bay headquarters for booming ride-share company

Not content with 423,000 square feet designed by SHoP Architects in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, Uber is expanding into Oakland. The company purchased the former Sears building from developer Lane Partners, who bought the building last year. Genlser is on deck to transform the old department store into 330,000 square feet of creative office space. The iconic chunk of real estate prominently faces both Broadway and Telegraph Avenue and its redevelopment marks a turning point for Oakland. Renamed Uptown Station, the building is located atop the 19th Street BART station. The ride-share company plans to locate up to 3,000 employees in the Oakland headquarters, noting that some 2,000 Uber employees currently live in the East Bay. According to the San Francisco Business Times, the expansion is a game changer for Oakland. It reported that if Uber fills the whole space, it “would become Oakland’s largest employer, that isn’t a government agency or medical center.” Gensler’s proposed renovation of the Sears Building comes with a possible $40 million dollar price tag. Interactive renderings done by Steelblue for Lane Partners show the old building stripped down to the concrete and brick, with an 85-foot-tall atrium spilling light into an interior courtyard full of retail spaces on the first floor. ‎"We're proud that Uber was attracted to Oakland's creative energy, incredible talent, progressive values, prime location and accessibility to the entire region," Oakland Mayor Leslie Schaaf was quoted as saying in the San Jose Mercury News. While Uber will surely attract more investment in the neighborhood, Downtown Oakland’s revival since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake has also led to increasing displacement in the city’s urban core. Last month, UC Berkeley researchers at the Project For Urban Development released a study that tracks displacement and gentrification in the region. The accompanying interactive map shows a swath of advanced gentrification along Broadway from the Old Oakland historic district to the Temescal neighborhood.
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Eavesdrop> California’s Olympic Letdown: Los Angeles & San Francisco lose out to Boston

  Alas, despite being hailed as the favorite to represent the United States in the race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles has lost out to its much older competitor, Boston. LA had pitched what Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed as the “most affordable” proposal, using mostly existing facilities, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center, and even Frank Gehry's Disney Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Queen Mary. Maybe the USOC isn’t as into a bargain as we thought? Or maybe after giving LA two games they’re just not that into us anymore. San Francisco, by the way, lost out on its bid, which also banked on affordability. Damn, the Olympic Village could have been the only cheap place to live there outside of Oakland!
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Senior Housing in Oakland Pushes the Building Envelope

Sustainability and high design meet in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects' affordable housing complex.

Designing a sustainable building on a budget is tricky enough. But for the Merritt Crossing senior housing complex in Oakland, California, non-profit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates upped the ante, asking Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to follow not one but two green-building ratings systems. "They wanted to push the envelope of what they typically do and decided to pursue not only the LEED rating, but also the GreenPoint system," said principal Richard Stacy. "So we actually did both, which is kind of crazy." Wrapped in a colorful cement-composite rain screen system punctuated by high performance windows, Merritt Crossing achieved LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program Platinum and earned 206 points on the Build-It-Green GreenPoint scale. The building was also the first Energy Star Rated multi-family residence in California, and was awarded 104 points by Bay-Friendly Landscaping. Merritt Crossing’s 70 apartments serve low-income seniors with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the area median. More than half of the units are reserved for residents at risk of homelessness or living with HIV/AIDS. Stacy explains that in the context of affordable housing, sustainability means two things. The first is quality of life for the residents, "the sorts of things that have a direct benefit to the people living there," such as natural daylighting and indoor air quality. The second is energy efficiency. "Both non-profits and [their] residents have limited financial capabilities," said Stacy. "The one time they have funding for that kind of thing is when they’re building a building. So we focused a lot on the building envelope in terms of energy efficiency. At the same time, we wanted to have ample daylight and controlled ventilation.” Finding themselves with unused contingency funds during construction Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects upgraded the exterior skin to a rain screen system of SWISSPEARL cement composite. "We worked pretty closely with the SWISSPEARL company," said Stacy, who noted that Merritt Crossing may be the first building in the United States to use the system. Though the panels are installed like lap siding they offer "the benefits of a rain screen in terms of cooling and waterproofing issues," he explained. To accommodate the thicker skin, window manufacturer Torrance Aluminum designed custom trim pieces, which "had the added benefit of giving us the appearance of deeply recessed windows," said Stacy.
  • Facade Manufacturer Eternit Switzerland SWISSPEARL
  • Architects Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
  • Facade Distributer Western Specialty Fabrications
  • Facade Installer PCI
  • Location Oakland, CA
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • System Cement composite rain screen
  • Products SWISSPEARL cement composite, GreenScreen modular trellising, Torrance Aluminum windows with custom trim pieces, Dow Corning polyiso insulation, Grace Perm-A-Barrier VPS vapor permeable membrane
Insulation was a special concern for the architects, both because Merritt Crossing was built using metal frame construction, and to minimize air infiltration in keeping with the green ratings systems. The building’s exterior walls are wrapped in 1-inch-thick high performance polyiso insulation from Dow Corning with a Grace Perm-A-Barrier VPS vapor permeable membrane. "As a result we ended up with a very, very tight building from an air insulation standpoint, which means you have to pay more attention to air ventilation," said Stacy. To compensate, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ mechanical engineers designed a special air filtration system for the building’s roof, complete with built-in HEPA filters. The building’s southwest facade faces a freeway, presenting potential noise and privacy issues in addition to exposure to the western sun. "We did a highly layered facade on that [side] where the actual exterior wall is back three to four feet from another screen wall," said Stacy. The outer wall "is a combination of typical wall assembly as well as GreenScreen panels that form a webbing of open areas and solid areas that help with sunshading as well as acoustical [dampening] and privacy." Greenery in balcony planters will eventually grow up and over the screens. On the ground floor, the garage is also enclosed in GreenScreen trellising, to enhance pedestrians’ view without sacrificing ventilation. Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ Merritt Crossing proves that affordable housing does not have to look institutional. The facade’s vibrant colors—green on the northeast elevation, red on the southwest—and playful punched texture pay homage to the neighborhood’s patchwork of architectural styles and building uses. The first major building in the planned redevelopment of the area around the Lake Merritt BART regional transit station, Merritt Crossing sets the bar high for future developments.
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Don’t We all Need One of These? SPUR Opens San Jose Office

One of the Bay Area's most effective urban instigators, SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) is opening an office in San Jose. The move came about for a few reasons, says the group. First, San Francisco has a declining share of the region's population, so it makes sense to branch out. And second, most planning decisions are made locally, so SPUR needs to establish footholds in the area's major cities. The new branch office was made possible by a successful $1 million fundraising campaign that will fund operations over the next three years. Leah Toeniskoetter will head up the new office and brings a background in real estate and economic development and finance. "San Jose wants to be walkable, it wants more transit-oriented development and sustainability," SPUR Director Gabriel Metcalf told the San Francisco Business Times. "In many ways, San Jose’s challenge is America’s challenge." A move to Oakland could be next on SPUR's agenda.