Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

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From Placemaking to Social Media: Takeaways from AIA San Francisco’s NEXT Conference

next-conference 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.
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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.”

Celebrating Architectural League Emerging Voices

Timken Lecture Hall, San Francisco Campus

Free and open to the public Reception and book signing to follow discussion More info: architecture@cca.edu

Since 1982, the Architectural League of New York has sponsored Emerging Voices, a juried lecture series recognizing architects, landscape architects, and urban designers whose distinctive voices promise to influence the field of architecture.

This year, the League published 30 Years of Emerging Voices, a survey of honorees with essays interpreting the transformations in architectural discourse, design, and practice that this roster reveals.

Join the conversation by attending this panel discussion featuring principals from all of the Emerging Voices firms currently practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thirteen leading architects and landscape architects will share their current visions for the field and reflect on their practice trajectories in a conversation moderated by Allison Arieff, editorial director at SPUR, and featuring the League’s executive director, Rosalie Genevro, and Emerging Voices program director, Anne Rieselbach. The presenters, many of whom teach at CCA, UC Berkeley, and other schools, are founding principals of some of the Bay Area's most distinguished practices: Anderson Anderson Architecture, Faulders Studio, Fernau & Hartman Architects, Guthrie + Buresh Architects, Iwamoto Scott, Kuth Ranieri Architects, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects,Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects, Pfau Long Architecture, Rael San Fratello, Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc., SurfaceDesign Inc., and VeeV Design.
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Take a tour inside Snøhetta’s SFMOMA before it opens in May 2016

“The building is not static—it is designed to gracefully mature over time as life and art move forward together,” said Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers poetically wrapped up his opening remarks at the pre-launch event of their heralded new addition to the SFMOMA, which is slated to open May 14, 2016. These words captured well the essence of his presentation, one that focused on the new expansion as a landmark affair in the eighty-year history of the West Coast’s first museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. A development which witnessed an astoundingly successful fundraising campaign that topped off at $610 million which, in addition to covering construction costs, has more than tripled SFMOMA’s endowment. “This expansion enables us to tap more fully into the energy all around us, in a region known for its special creativity and beauty, while greatly increasing the presentations of a collection that includes remarkable concentrations of artworks that can be found nowhere else,” noted museum director Neal Benezra. A hardhat tour of the Snøhetta addition led visitors through a vastly expanded and exploded in scale and breadth building, which highlights new and unique spaces designed to house the large scale projects of modern art such as Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture Sequence (2006) and others. Soon, museum visitors will have access to more outdoor terraces that are scattered throughout the building offering exclusive and exceptional experiences of the downtown San Francisco urban cityscape. Previously a one entrance and exit museum this new building sports multiple access points and talks to current notions of porosity and an opening up of architecture as a fluid and dematerialized experience both programmatically and in the phenomenological. The focal point of the project, of course, is the eastern facade of the Snøhetta expansion, which is comprised of more than 700 individually shaped FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, a local fabrication shop specializing in composites, affixed to a curtain-wall system, allowed for a much lighter structural frame because of their own lightweight nature, bringing costs down, and highlighting the technological versatility of sustainable, locally sourced materials, and digital fabrication. In celebrating the new building as a space for art, speakers at the topping off event ecstatically showed off new acquisitions their presentations and discussed the unique partnerships that allowed for these enormously expensive works to join the collection. Bob Fisher, the eldest son of Don and Doris Fisher, recounted his parents’ love affair with artwork and how they assembled over 1,100 art pieces that will become the focus point of many of the new exhibitions and offerings at SFMOMA over the next 100 years through an unprecedented public/private partnership. There was much discussion of the finances of the new building in addition to the artwork that has been added to the collection. Charles R. Schwab, chairman of SFMOMA’s Board of Trustees, focused on many of the unique collaborations and joint acquisitions of artwork through unique partnerships with other world renowned museums. Over 500 donors supported the campaign which both raised money and alongside it—the Campaign for Art has secured more than 3,000 artworks from over 200 donors, enhancing key areas of the museum’s holdings and providing visitors with a fuller, more textured view of contemporary art. In addition, the museum has added the Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest gallery, research and interpretive space devoted to photography in any U.S. art museum, and an increase in programs for children and families in the new Koret Education Center. SFMOMA will also now be free to anyone under 18, a gesture aimed at education and increasing accessibility for more kids and families to visit the space, in a time when ticket prices to exclusive culturally rich atmospheres seem to only get more and more expensive. This building sings a new song to the city of San Francisco and the world and one can only hope that more architects and designers (and most apropos developers) press forward with exceptional and forward thinking designs that help craft international and world-class destinations.
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First renderings revealed for SOM’s San Francisco 1500 Mission residential tower [UPDATE]

With backing from developers Related California, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is moving forward with a new residential tower project at 1500 Mission Street and South Van Ness in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Reaching 39 floors, the tower will hold 560 apartments which will each have an average area of around 730 square feet, replacing the Goodwill Industries currently on site. According to The San Francisco Business Times, 112 of the 560 units are expected to be designated affordable housing spaces available at below the market rates. In an effort to retain the site's heritage, the scheme plans to incorporate the Coca Cola Bottling Plant Clock Tower into its design—a pre-existing feature that was iconic to the site. Also included in the project will be 24,000 square feet of retail and 450,000 square feet of office space of which the clock tower would be integrated into one of the entrances.
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On View> SPUR Urban Center Gallery presents VENUE

VENUE SPUR Urban Center Gallery 654 Mission Street San Francisco Through October 21 The product of an enviable 16-month-long road trip across the United States, VENUE is the documentation of a series of sites from around the country that are not always considered when surveying architecture and design. The successful bloggers Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG) and Nicola Twilley (Edible Geography) tackle “often overlooked yet fascinating sites through the eyes of the innovators, trendsetters, entrepreneurs, and designers at the forefront of ideas today,” giving a more honest assessment of the American landscape then is represented in traditional urban-centric design media. The exhibition and installation includes books, photographs, maps, ephemera, and more. The tour was thoroughly 21st-century, however it was inspired by the great expeditions of the 19th century.
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On View> Architecture & Design Films showcased in San Francisco Festival

All month the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) will present its Architecture & Design Films Showcase 2015 in downtown San Francisco, hailed as the West Coast’s largest showcase of architecture and design films. The New Rijksmuseum, a 2013 film directed by Oeke Hoogendijk opened the festival. With clarity and precision the documentary followed the ten year ordeal that was the renovation of the Amsterdam museum and the challenging battle and drama surrounding its reopening. Joel Shepard, YBCA’s film curator, said “this is the second year we’ve presented this very engaging series and it was such a hit last year that we decided to do it again. This time we have even more outstanding films, which were all selected for their diversity as well as because they represent a wide variety of new architecture, design, and related subjects.” Some titles that stand out are Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, focused on what it’s title straightforwardly lays out, land art, and includes rare footage and interviews of storied artists Robert Smithson (Sprial Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field), and Michael Heizer (Double Negative) on October 29 and November 1. Maker, with the director Mu-Ming Tsai in person to present a film that looks into the current maker movement in America—a new wave of do-it-yourself and do-it-together fueled by passion and powered by new technologies, a topic particularly ripe for the Bay Area crowd. Two other titles to take note of are Christiania: 40 Years of Occupation and Making Space, a film that looks at five women changing the face of architecture. The showcase runs through November 8 and takes place at the YBCA Screening Room in San Francisco. A list of the films can be found at on the museum's website. Most show times are Thursday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
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Boston considers supply-and-demand logic to price parking in prime areas

Boston-area drivers spend too much time stuck in traffic. To combat congestion in the city center, Boston city officials may follow San Francisco's move to improve traffic flow by charging more for parking at peak times. Donald Shoup, former professor of planning at UCLA, is famous for arguing that, at any given time, about one-third of drivers on city streets are looking for parking. His disciples at the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority created SFpark, a congestion control model that puts Shoup's ideas into practice in the form of surge pricing for on-street parking (see the full report here). Shoupistas in Boston may follow suit. Inexpensive parking makes it easier for drivers to leave their cars parked for longer periods of time. Other drivers hunting for parking cause gridlock and delays. Following SFpark, Boston will introduce parking prices tied to peak traffic in select downtown locations. Mayor Walsh commented that, in addition to applying market logic to parking, the move may spur more drivers to opt instead for mass transit. Currently, $0.25 buys you 12 minutes of parking at most meters in Boston, regardless of the day or time. Officials haven't decided on how high the meters will go, but in San Francisco, peak parking costs up to $7.00 per hour. To prepare for a pilot program, Boston officials will study the proposal's impact on Fenway, Back Bay, and other downtown neighborhoods. The peak pricing initiative is part of an overall effort to modernize parking infrastructure and reduce gridlock downtown. Approximately 8,000 older meters are being replaced with new meters that accept credit cards and can be programmed to accommodate surge pricing. In turn, the city can create "parking zones" where certain blocks in high demand zones are priced higher than less desirable blocks. To fight gridlock, Mayor Walsh pointed to surveillance at intersections that will identify motorists who "block the box," as well as those who double park. When reprogramming traffic, it is often a challenge to balance the needs of motorists with the needs of everyone else. In addition to Boston, Cleveland, DC, and Denver are working on innovate ways to alleviate congestion to make healthier streets for all.
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Q+A> Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher: Behind the scenes at SFMOMA’s architecture and design department

Although the Snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion won’t open until mid-2016, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Earlier this month the museum promoted Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher to the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design and head of the Department of Architecture and Design. Dunlop Fletcher (who joined the museum as an assistant curator in 2007) co-curated the impressive Lebbeus Woods, Architect exhibition in 2013. AN spoke to her about the future of architecture and design in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The Architect's Newspaper: What is your vision for your curatorial role and for the new space? Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher: That’s always the hardest thing to answer. First, we will have a new gallery dedicated to architecture and design on the sixth floor of the new museum, which I’m very excited about. In the previous building, we had three spaces cobbled together with different ceiling heights, so having a refreshed gallery is going to be great. Also, we will have another dedicated A&D space on the third floor. Second, we get to participate in more museum-wide programs. I see a lot of opportunity for us to expand outside of our gallery and take advantage of the way designers work and be flexible and responsive to different spaces. In terms of responsiveness, how might the new design impact how you approach exhibitions? So, the way that Snøhetta responds to the physical conditions of the site and social conditions of the site, I think we also recognize that the engineering coming out of Silicon Valley has been a tremendous attracter for many designers to come to San Francisco. Internally, we’ve been focusing on research funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that looks at how designer practice has changed so much in the last 30 years due to new software tools. And of course, that relates so much to what is happening just outside our door. If we can really study those practices and the migration from pen and pencil to software we will have a whole new collecting approach internationally. This is something that has changed and affected every single design discipline: graphic design, product design, and architecture. So, if we take the three-year period (which we’ve outlined in the grant) to really look at some key designers and understand their practice behind the scenes, it will affect how we move forward in collecting and displaying this integrated work. I think it’s going to be a very big difference. In what way? The twenty-first century has moved away from object-based presentation and museums need to recognize that. Everyone still loves to come into the museum and see an original object, but the way that designers communicate with each other and clients has changed. We can’t impose a kind of more traditional display on that relationship. So, can we expect an expanded idea of representation? Are we talking about more screens? Well, I’ve been warned not to really discuss exactly what’s happening in the opening, but I think screens, but not screens in a consumption sense, not in a passive, let’s just watch something unfold sense, but more in a dynamic sense. And maybe…oh, I wish I could talk about this one thing! How can I speak about it abstractly? New ways to experience design that is traditionally experienced kind of phenomenologically, all the senses. So there might be a way for screens or devices to enable a different kind of interaction. We seem to be talking a little bit more about design and industrial design. What about sort of the architecture part of the equation? I’m not trying to exclude the architecture at all. The architects I see here are very, very interested in poking holes in existing software and hacking software and responsive buildings and robotic mechanized buildings. It’s permeated all the design disciplines here.
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This mapping tool shows the effects of gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area

Researchers at UCLA and the UC-Berkeley are mapping neighborhood change in the Bay Area. The Urban Displacement Project uses government housing, land use, transportation, and Census data from 1990–2013 to find markers that represent turnover in housing, demographic shifts, and new investment. Led by UC-Berkeley's Karen Chapple and Miriam Zuk, researchers divided the nine-county Bay Area’s 1,569 Census tracts into low- and high-income tracts. Low-income tracts were defined as areas where 39 percent of households earn 80 percent less than each county’s median income, and high income tracts where less than 39 percent of households are considered low income. Low- and high-income tracts were categorized by residential displacement “risk factors.” Significantly, the report defines “gentrification” and “displacement” differently. Displacement is defined as a net loss of low income residents, while “gentrification” is tangible evidence of neighborhood investment and/or an influx of more affluent residents. This is important because, as the researchers found, gentrification in some areas happened before displacement, while in others, displacement comes first or occurs at the same time as gentrification. Lower income tracts were assessed for risk of gentrification and displacement, while higher income tracts were assessed for displacement risk only. Overall, 51 percent of tracts did not experience significant displacement, while 48 percent are losing low-income residents. Researchers found that 422 tracts are “at risk” of displacing poor residents, while 165 are “currently experiencing displacement.” The map is intended as a resource for community groups taking action to prevent displacement. The data is retrospective, shedding light on regional population trends. Planners, however, cannot use the data to make sure predictions about where gentrification and displacement is likely to occur in the future. The data doesn’t reveal where displaced residents move to, or account for other qualitative factors that may prompt a move. Transportation planning and development can benefit a lower-income area, if officials take into account the economic and social needs of the existing population. Some areas, including  East Palo Alto, and Marin City, have actively forestalled displacement with housing subsidies and community organizing.
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Growing Tall and Going Big: San Francisco studied density bonuses to generate affordable housing

This Fall, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal made by the city's Planning Department concerning the possibility of "relaxing" height and density limits for many of San Francisco's western neighborhoods. If enacted, the program expects to transform some of San Francisco's uninhabited residences and unused space into affordable housing units for newcomers. The city is exploring a density bonus program, which allows developers to gain building height among other incentives. The proposal, according to the San Francisco Business Times, would allow developers to build two-stories taller than normally allowed. Most parts of San Francisco restrict heights to four or six stories. Other provisions would allow parking minimum waivers and reduced setback and side yard requirements. That's all in exchange for building affordable housing. San Francisco hopes the plan could spur 7,000 new units of housing, 3,000 of those affordable. The proposal has been met with strong opposition from some neighborhood groups, the Business Times reported. Some San Francisco residents – in particular the Sunset and Richmond districts – are reluctant to expose themselves to neighborhood change. Western neighborhoods claim rezoning would render the community vulnerable to conflict, citing dense construction, parking concerns, and impacts on the transportation system. “Building density just for the sake of density isn’t the answer," Planning Department Chief John Rahaim said in a statement earlier this year. "We need to be concerned about quality of life and living space.” He acknowledged, however, that the city is in need of new affordable housing.
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Kreysler & Associates Erects an FRP First in San Francisco

Wave-like composite facade animates SFMOMA expansion.

While visually interesting, the primary facade of the SFMOMA expansion (Snøhetta with associate architect EHDD) was not originally designed to pioneer a new material system. All that changed when William Kreysler visited the architect's New York office. "I went there to meet them about the interior," recalled Kreysler, whose firm—composite specialists Kreysler & Associates—had been called in to advise on the project's vaulted ceilings. "I asked about the exterior, how that was going to get done. They didn't know." Over the coming months, Kreysler & Associates transitioned from interior consultant to envelope fabricator as the facade itself was transformed from a ductal concrete fantasy to a fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reality. Along the way, thanks to a patent-pending process developed by Kreysler & Associates, the design and fabrication team positioned itself on the cutting edge of high performance building enclosures with the first major use of FRP cladding on a multi-story facade in North America. When a client's representative called to ask if his firm—at that point poised to collaborate with an outside glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) contractor on mold-making—would consider taking on fabrication themselves, Kreysler's reaction was mixed. "I said, 'Yes, I don't see anything particularly complicated about it in terms of fabrication,'" he recalled. "The problem was the fire codes. No one in the [FRP] business had attempted to pass the fire code requirements." Kreysler & Associates had been keeping abreast of the regulatory situation, and had been involved in inserting a new section for FRP into the International Building Code[s]. But the fire code test itself, NFPA 285, is expensive. After further conversation, the client committed to partially fund the test. "We got to the point where I said, 'Okay, I'm willing to put some money at risk here,'" said Kreysler. "We went ahead and did it." Kreysler & Associates' system, which they call Fireshield 285, passed the test, likely becoming the first FRP cladding panel to do so. Having thus paved the way for a more widespread application of the lightweight material to building exteriors, the fabricator's next step was to bid to three facade companies. Of the firms to which they introduced their design, Enclos was the most engaged. By the end of the first meeting, Kreysler & Associates and Enclos had brainstormed ideas to eliminate the secondary structural frame intended to go in front of the weatherproof wall specified in the original design.
  • Facade Manufacturer Kreysler & Associates
  • Architects Snøhetta, EHDD (associate architect)
  • Facade Installer Enclos
  • Facade Consultants Arup
  • Location San Francisco, CA
  • Date of Completion expected 2016
  • System FRP veneer over unitized facade panel rain screen
  • Products custom Fireshield 285 FRP panels, unitized facade panels with waterproof membrane and fireproofing, custom mechanical attachment system
Soon the group introduced an additional innovation. Enclos is known for its expertise in unitized panel systems rather than conventional walls, explained Kreysler. "We said, 'Maybe we could make our material so lightweight, we could just fasten our material onto the front of the unitized wall panel.'" Kreysler is quick to give credit to Enclos "for seeing the potential and sharing their expertise in building facades so we could work collaboratively to take full advantage of both systems' strengths."  With a combined composite-unitized wall panel assembly, one team of contractors could erect the entire rain screen in a single shot. "It would save one million pounds of structural steel, plus the time of going around the building three times," said Kreysler. Not surprisingly, "the contractor liked it, and the owner liked it," he recalled. Only one obstacle remained. "Unitized wall systems are designed to go in straight lines, or if curved, are curved in a radius," said Kreysler. "But if you look at the facade of SFMOMA, it's all over the place." The Kreysler & Associates-Enclos team quickly developed a solution: Kreysler & Associates would fabricate their panels with edges of different depths to bridge the gap between the facade's surface and the flat unitized panel wall. "We were able to create a curved front even though the the wall behind was a nice straight line," explained Kreysler. "From the front of the building you don't see any of the edges—you see this flowing curved line. That was a big breakthrough, and as a result, Enclos really got behind our system." The client was suitably impressed, and Kreysler & Associates won the contract against bids involving GFRC systems. "Even if our price turned out to be higher, the benefits of only going around the building one time, and the benefits of a system considered to be a higher-quality weatherproof wall" won out, said Kreysler. Though the expansion is not expected to open until 2016, Kreysler & Associates' work on the project is finished. The installation went "beautifully," said Kreysler. The 710 unique FRP panels were mechanically fastened and bonded to the unitized wall using a custom aluminum extrusion. The Enclos representatives had been nervous, he recalled. However, "the project manager told me that in the years he's being doing this, it was the most complicated project he's ever done, but in the end this was the most straightforward part of the project." As for Kreysler himself, he has no regrets—quite the opposite. "It was tricky, but it was fun and interesting," he said. "And it was nice to know that we were breaking new ground."