Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

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Buckminster Fuller Institute moving HQ to San Francisco

Late last week, the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI)—an organization dedicated to continuing the ambitious, global work of architect Buckminster Fuller—announced it would be relocating to the West Coast. "After twelve exciting and successful years in New York, we’re moving BFI’s headquarters back to California, which is where we got our start," the BFI said in an email. Just today, the BFI provided The Architect's Newspaper with additional details. The organization said there would be no disruption to the 2017 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, which is accepting entrants through March 31st, 2017. This year the BFI is seeking "innovators who are addressing the many crises facing humanity and the fundamental systems that support life on Earth...." (For more on the 2017 Call for proposals, click here.) Each year several finalists are selected, and one project wins $100,000 in support of its ongoing development and implementation. The 2017 Buckminster Fuller Challenge ceremony will also still take place in New York. Later this Spring the BFI will announce more details on its San Francisco office; the organization will retain some employees in New York City, but it will no longer have an office there. Those living in the Bay Area and interested in helping the BFI can contact the group regarding volunteer and internship openings.
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AIASF’s next Housing Forum envisions San Francisco in 2100

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, SFBARF
For more information on the event, see the AIASF website.
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Humanitarian texts inspired this colorful carpet installation in San Francisco

Basel, Switzerland–based Manuel Herz Architects has designed a 1,550-square-foot carpet installation for this year’s Swissnex San Francisco conference that uses humanitarian texts as stylistic and educational motifs. The project, named Rights on Carpet by the Swiss architects, combines the complete texts from human rights-related declarations with brightly-colored, geometric patterns and symbols. The carpet specifically highlights the 1864, 1906, 1929, and 1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1966 Convent on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The carpet—meant to be occupied shoeless—features texts within collections of rectangular frames that are organized in a series of concentric circles. This scheme is meant to gesture toward Muslim prayer rituals. This aspect of the carpet’s design, according to a press release announcing the installation, is meant to highlight “the activity of sitting in groups and debating and learning about a common topic ... exactly what takes place in mosques.” The text of the latter three documents mentioned above is displayed in the circular regions while the Geneva Conventions texts make up the interstitial spaces along the carpet. In an email to The Architect’s Newspaper, Herz said:
At a time when these rights and values have been questioned, and even been grossly undermined, when politicians are openly considering withdrawing from declarations of human rights, and when an appeal to these treaties seen as dated, derided as an expression of political correctness, or even mocked as a symptom of weakness, it has become more important than ever to remind ourselves of the actual wording of these treaties, and to bring their source texts back into our general consciousness. The carpet thus starts to trigger and feed discussions and debates around the topic of humanitarianism. It becomes an architectural device for curating the exchange between people.
The carpet will be on display at Swissnex San Francisco through May of 2017.
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Renzo Piano is designing a 36-story hotel in San Francisco’s Transbay neighborhood

New York City–based Renzo Piano Building Workshop and developer Pacific Eagle have revealed renderings for 555 Howard, a new, mixed-use hotel project slated for San Francisco's Transbay neighborhood. The project, if completed as planned, would become the fourth tallest structure in the city. According to documentation submitted to the city’s Planning Department, the project is slated to contain 69 dwelling units and 255 hotel rooms. Of the 69 dwelling units, 15 percent would be set aside at affordable rates. The rectangular tower, clad in transparent glass and rising to an overall height of 385 feet, would be built on the site of a collection of low-slung masonry buildings dating to the early 1900s. Those structures were analyzed by the Transit Center District Historic Resource Survey in 2012 and were not found to be “Contributory or Significant Buildings” for the neighborhood. Renderings released for the project showcase a glassy, boxy tower that steps back slightly roughly halfway up its height. According to the report, the residential portion of the building would be located between the 20th and 36th levels, with the hotel program sitting below. The 21st floor, where the building steps back, will include an outdoor terrace meant for use by building residents. The structure also features a triple-height ground floor lobby area with what looks like retail uses. The lobby is lifted on slender, pencil-tipped columns similar to those the architect used in the firm’s Modern Wing addition to the Art Institute of Chicago building. The lobby also features a pair of intervening mezzanine levels. The project proposes creating an “under ramp” park spanning one full side of the structure, underneath an adjacent elevated highway onramp. The building’s massing is split at roughly the centerline along that expanse, creating a wide reveal in the facade that, according to the planning documents, is meant to minimize the massing of the structure.
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Residents of tilting Millennium Tower to sue developers

Millennium Partners, the developer of Handel Architects—designed Millennium Tower in San Francisco, is being taken to court over the building's alarming sinking issue. The tower's homeowners association (HOA) let residents know last Thursday that it was filing a case against both Millennium Partners and Transbay Joint Powers Authority—the firm behind the substantial transit development adjacent to the tower. In the months prior to this, the HOA had staved off any legal action, advising tenants to do the same, as they privately discussed workarounds with the developer. (Some residents still filed lawsuits of their own.) During this process, the finger of blame was pointed toward the $2 billion, Pelli Clarke Pelli–designed transit scheme nearby that reportedly destabilized the tower's foundations. The 20 tenants that took matters into their own hands, though, made a different case. They argued that Millennium Partners was well aware that the structure had sunk significantly more—and at a faster rate—than expected, and failed to let prospective buyers know. A study in Fall of last year found that the tower and sunk 16 inches since it’s opening in 2008. By contrast, initial predictions for the building suggested that it would only sink six inches over its lifetime. To make matters worse, Millennium Tower is not settling evenly either, something which has result in a two-inch tilt. According to coverage from NBC Bay Area, the HOA has said: "The lawsuit would be intended to ... hold the defendants responsible for the damage to the building and... require the defendants to fund a comprehensive repair and restoration of the building, among other relief." A meeting scheduled for March 6 will apparently be held to "to discuss problems that may lead to the filing of a civil action, nonlitigation options, and other considerations." Whether the residents, unlike their tower, settle, remains to be seen.
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America’s first transgender historic district planned for San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood

A recently struck agreement between Group I—the developer for a Handel Architects-designed mixed-use housing and hotel project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood called 950 Market Street—and TLGB activists will soon yield the country’s first transgender cultural historic district. The new Compton’s Cafeteria Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (TLGB) District is being crafted as a result of neighborhood opposition to the project, originally designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, that aims to bring apartments and a hotel to the heart of the city’s historic TLGB enclave. A deal struck between activists, the developer, and San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim would utilize $300,000 paid by the developer to establish the cultural district the area in order to preserve the architectural and social legacy of the neighborhood’s many gay bars, several of which are being demolished in conjunction with the new project. The fund is to be administered by the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development and will support local business and nonprofit organizations that serve transgender people in the district. The district is named for Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, the site of a two-day riot in 1966, an event that predates the Stonewall Riots in New York City by two years and is considered as the first major transgender protest in the United States. President Barack Obama elevated the Stonewall Inn—a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood—as a National Monument in 2016, the first such monument for the TLGB community in the country. The district encompasses a collection of roughly ten blocks in the Tenderloin neighborhood along Viki Mar Lane, 6th Street, and Market Street and surrounds an area formerly known as the “meat rack,” a stretch of town friendly to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations in the city from the 1950s through the early 1970s that is also home to many historic gay bars. Of these, the Old Crow, Rainbow Tavern, and Silver Rail bars will be torn down to accommodate the development. A two-story structure known as the Dean Building is also being town down. The roots of the district as a cultural site for TLGB populations go back to the Gold Rush era. In a press release touting the first-of-its-kind cultural district, Kim explained the importance the cultural site during a time of newly-restrictive social mores, as an ascendant conservative ideology permeates national political and social discourse, saying, “By creating the Compton’s TLGB District we are honoring this vibrant community built by transgender people, and are sending a message to the world that trans people are welcome here.” Handel Architects’ 12-story complex, with an eye toward the particularities of a neighborhood that is historically home to a collection of specialized communities, including low-income, homeless and under-housed populations, will aim to bring 242 new mixed-income units to the neighborhood. The developers behind the project also aim to work with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), and Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) to develop between 60- and 70-units of off-site, deed-restricted affordable housing. The affordable complex, to be located at 180 Jones Street, will make use of a $14.8 million in fees and donations by the developer to come to fruition. When built, it will be operated by MOHCD. The project—articulated as a snaking apartment block decorated with a hexagonally-shaped structural grid populated by large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass walls—is expected to take about two years to build and will contain, among other programmatic components, a neighborhood non-profit threater. The forthcoming Magic Theater, designed to occupy a 2,000-square-foot retail space at the corner of Turk and Taylor streets, will also contain a locally-owned cafe.
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SFMOMA to open exhibition of Bureau Spectacular works

Los Angeles-based architecture firm Bureau Spectacular, in its first West Coast museum showcase, is exhibiting some of their graphic and three-dimensional work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) this month.   The exhibition, titled insideoutsidebetweenbeyond, builds on architectural ideas developed by Bureau Spectacular-leader Jimenez Lai in an eponymous drawing made in 2014. Through the drawing, Lai explores the formal and urban manifestations of a society in which architecture is capable of rewriting cultural narratives through what Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design at SFMOMA, describes as “a balanced democracy of creative individuals.” That work, acquired by SFMOMA in 2015, will be displayed in concert with several other works by Bureau Spectacular, including a comic titled When I Grow Up from 2013, and a collection of five new physical models. The models depict architectural manifestations of urban life through a collection of surreal vignettes. The busy firm also recently debuted designs for the 2,000-square-foot flagship store for clothing brand Frankie, designed a contemporary reinterpretation of Marc-Antoine Laugier’s “Primitive Hut” for the Seattle-focused travel show, Been There, Made That, and was recently shortlisted for this year’s PS1 MOMA Young Architects Program. The firm’s SFMOMA exhibition opens February 11, 2017, and will be on view until August 13th. See the exhibition website for more information.
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New 42-story tower signals burst of development coming to San Francisco’s Rincon Hill neighborhood

399 Fremont tower in San Francisco was first pitched in 2006. Delayed for nearly a decade due to the Great Recession, the tower was finally completed this year under the auspices of architects SCB and developer UDR, as a 42-story, 470-unit luxury apartment tower.

And in the years since it was first envisioned (by a design and development team no longer involved with the project), the neighborhood around the site—Rincon Hill, south of downtown San Francisco—has blossomed with urban activity. Plans are currently in the works for up to 20,000 new housing units between Rincon Hill and the adjacent Transbay area, where a new $2.25 billion multimodal transportation terminal by Pelli Clarke Pelli will open in late 2017. Through technical precision and determination, SCB has managed to turn a once-stalled project into one of the first to be completed in the area, creating a handsome tower smack in the middle of San Francisco’s newest residential enclave in the process.

The architects did so while adhering rather strictly to the tenants of the Rincon Hill Plan, a document set in motion in 2005 that calls for “retail shops and neighborhood services along Folsom Boulevard” and the transformation of surrounding streets into “traffic-calmed, landscaped residential streets lined with townhouses and front doors.” The future neighborhood is envisioned as a mixed-use enclave made up of mostly low-rise apartment blocks punctuated by “slender residential towers interspersed at heights ranging from 250 to 550 feet.”

Managing principal at SCB, Chris Pemberton, and design principal Strachan Forgan described the success of the project as hinging on the designs for each unit, an aspect that was perhaps underdeveloped in the earlier schemes. Forgan explained, “Units really do make the home; they’re an essential part of the project,” adding that “Multifamily residential is our expertise—the firm has designed over 25,000 units across the country. Thus, we were able to design this building to offer a variety of unit types, many more than a typical development would offer.”

In total, the tower has approximately 30 unit types and is shaped like a parallelogram in plan. Inscribed within that parallelogram is a “rugby-ball-shaped” section of the building that, according to Forgan, rises out of the principal mass and becomes the tower’s crown. The maneuver results in two sets of units, with one grouping facing northwest toward the business district and another looking southeast over the San Francisco Bay. The steeply angled south-facing roof crown contains a “sky lounge” and terrace, a programmatic component provided by the neighborhood plan that allowed the designers to give the tower a more striking silhouette. The sloping surface was originally designed to cant in the opposite direction, but the firm proposed a last-minute change in orientation to better complement the tower’s placement along the skyline and, conveniently, to create a broad southern exposure perfect for hosting a solar water-heating installation. The move helped the tower reduce power consumption by some 30 percent. As a result, 399 Fremont will be LEED Silver certified.

Otherwise, the project is made up of a standard mixed-use development vocabulary, with activated ground-floor areas, below-grade parking, and a slew of rooftop amenities. To control for seismic events, the project also features a pair of isolated mat slabs under both the podium and tower that each sit directly on the bedrock. Structural engineering on the project was done by MKA, who designed the two halves of the building to move independently of one another via a large seismic joint. Facade engineering was done by Arup. Arup also carried out thermal comfort analysis to ensure thermal comfort within the units throughout the daily solar cycle. The curtain walls, by manufacturer Yuanda, are designed to pop open during seismic events to relieve lateral pressure. Ground-floor spaces feature retail at the uphill side of Rincon Hill as well as a grand lobby for the apartment tower and a collection of landscaped entryways that mark the thresholds to townhouse units along Fremont Street, part of what Pemberton described as an “eyes on the street” approach to city planning contained within the Rincon Hill master plan.

Pemberton added that SCB developed the interior architecture as well as the physical form of the tower, saying “[399 Fremont] was a great collaboration between the architecture and interior design studios of the firm” and that there was a “holistic sense to the design, an understanding of the impact that the exterior has on the interior experience—and likewise, how the interior spaces influence the building’s exterior architecture.”

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Japanese photographer Sohei Nishino gets his first solo U.S. show at SFMOMA

The first solo exhibition in the United States of Japanese photographer Sohei Nishino’s work is currently on view at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in New Work: Sohei Nishino. The exhibition presents a new collection of work in the photographer’s Diorama Maps photograph series. Each of the works depicts a different city explosively photographed by Nishino to be seen from above as a type of meticulously collaged and abstracted aerial view. To arrive at this final image, the artist spends months walking a city and snapping photographs that are printed and assembled by hand into a giant collage. That collage is then digitized and finally printed as a large-scale digital photograph. The high-resolution images in New Work: Sohei Nishino feature scenes from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; London; Havana; and a view of San Francisco made specifically for the exhibition.

New Work: Sohei Nishino San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street, San Francisco Through February 26, 2017

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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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Aidlin Darling Design balances raw and polished surfaces in SFMOMA’s In Situ restaurant

San Francisco–based Aidlin Darling Design (ADD) and three-starred Michelin chef Corey Lee have teamed up for In Situ, a new 150-seat restaurant located within the original Mario Botta–designed portion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that was recently expanded by Snøhetta.

The restaurant is designed as an alternate-dimension art museum, where “borrowed” dishes on loan from the kitchens of the world’s most renowned chefs make up the menu, meticulously recreated by Lee’s team. And so, ADD has rendered an intentionally spare interior made of mostly-found surfaces, with many of the existing, roughed-out textures of the extant space remaining—some polished, some raw. Other interior elements, inserted neatly into that rough, gray box, act as bespoke elements: a sculptural timber ceiling, custom-made tables hewn from raw logs, and delicate bar stools and lounge chairs. Site-specific artworks are also scattered around the restaurant, which is lit from one side by a large storefront window opening onto Third Street.

The space is divided into two dining areas. The first, a large, informal dining room, is populated by bar-top and communal tables, is capped by the sculptural timber ceiling. Its surface is made up of delicately jagged and parallel wooden boards and extends across both dining rooms, alternating between various degrees of geometric relief. Further into the space, the second, more formal dining room is made up of intimate seating areas.

In Situ 151 Third Street San Francisco, CA Tel: 415-941 6050 Designer: Aidlin Darling Design (ADD)

[In Situ also won our 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Retail/Hospitality. Click here to learn more!]

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BREAKING: Los Angeles chosen as new site for MAD Architects’ Lucas Museum

The Board of Directors for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts elected this afternoon to pursue Los Angeles as the latest site for their troubled museum proposal. The decision marks the third time the museum board has attempted to find a site for the $1 billion, MAD Architects-designed scheme. The firm's initial San Francisco proposal was rebuffed in 2015. The team made a try for a site in Chicago, only to scrap the plans in the face of fierce opposition to the project by a local community group known as Friends of The Park. Instead, Los Angeles's Exposition Park, home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center, and the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County will now potentially host Lucas's namesake museum. The Los Angeles proposal was selected after the museum team made parallel pitches for a second site on San Francisco's Treasure Island and one in L.A.'s Exposition Park. The new museum, if built, will be located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line, within proximity of the forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium, and would cap a park already brimming with global cultural and entertainment destinations. In announcing their decision, the Lucas Foundation's board of directors extolled the virtues of the urban park and its surrounding neighborhood, saying, "While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship." In an effort to preserve the green spaces of the park, the selected scheme will include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the curvaceous museum located in a leafy, park setting topped with tufts of greenery. The museum also appears to gingerly touch the ground by coming down in a series of large, discrete piers. It's still unclear what sorts of developmental hurdles the museum will need to surpass prior to start construction, but the project clearly has a fan in L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, who after learning of the decision, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.” This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.