Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

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San Francisco’s “Murmur Wall” installation tells your secrets in public

We’ve all heard a lot about “smart cities” and “responsive architecture,” by what about architecture that tells secrets? Murmur Wall, designed by Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno of the experimental design practice Future Cities Lab, does just that. The pair describes their site-specific installation at the main entrance to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in as “artificially intelligent architecture.” “We are interested in exploring how data can become visceral, tangible, and poetic,” Johnson explained. “We’re experimenting with its potential to create meaning and a sense of place within the contemporary city.” Murmur Wall harvests local online activities—via search engines and social media—and broadcasts select phrases back into public space. Visitors to the wall can also contribute anonymous secrets, rumors, and gossip to the wall at the website murmurwall.net. Unlike many interactive artworks that rely on screens to share information, the sculptural installation uses a steel tube armature and illuminated fiber optic rods. LED lights embedded in the acrylic tubes illuminate the stream of whispers along the length of the Murmur Wall. When the real-time data reaches the 3D printed “pods” embedded with LED display, the small, embedded screens display a brief text before the data continues on as a light stream. This integration of digital and architectural strategies comes from Future Cities Lab research and teaching practices. Both designers are faculty at the California College of the Arts where Gattegno is Chair of the CCA Graduate Architecture program and Johnson coordinates the CCA Digital Craft Lab. Their work embraces the booming tech culture all around them in the Bay Area and then grapples with potential architectural applications, finding solutions that go beyond smart city catchphrases. “There is a lot of talk these days about how the Internet of Things will make the city more efficient, informed, and productive,” said Johnson. “We are more interested in its potential to connect people, to help them share ideas and experiences, and create communities in the physical world.” Revealing secrets is the first step. The installation is open and accessible to the public 24/7 at the Mission Street entrance the museum. A second Future Cities Lab piece, Lightswarm from 2014, is on view on the south facade of YBCA’s Grand Lobby.
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Berkeley designers propose building this pavilion entirely out of books, and you can help kickstart the project

Leaders of the Bay Area Book Festival (taking place June 5–7 in Berkeley) are teaming up with arts group Flux Foundation to make Lacuna, a wood-framed, yurt-like structure containing over 50,000 books, all donated by the Internet Archive. The "participatory" installation, designed with built in benches and alcoves, will have walls literally made out of stacks of books. Ceilings will be made of book pages attached to guy wires. lt will sit in Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, creating what organizers call "a reflective space that offers contrast to—and respite from—the busy energy of the festival." In a digital world, this reminder of books' physicality, and the opportunity to read them and reshape the space, should be a major draw—especially as many bookstores still struggle to stay open. The project is still seeking funding. You can contribute to its Kickstarter campaign here.
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San Francisco never looked as grand as in this nighttime time lapse video

This black-and-white time-lapse video by Toby Harriman shows San Francisco at its most dramatic. The skyline emerges quietly from its famous fog as the city and its bridges twinkle in the distance—including Leo Villareal's Bay Lights installation. As the music builds, Gotham City SF picks up pace, showing dramatic angles at high speeds completely appropriate for an action thriller. You'd have to watch to really understand. https://vimeo.com/119318850 According to filmmaker Toby Harriman:

This idea came from the aether; it emerged over time. Several years ago (2012) while exploring my passion for black and white photography I found myself wandering into a look I call ‘Gotham’...I have collected and edited this footage while juggling my freelance career and time working at Lytro (a new camera technology).

The film's score was created by UK-based James Everingham and serves to heighten the drama of the city. The Gotham City SF logo was designed by David Hultin.
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Long-empty Strand Theater to re-open in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood

In May, San Francisco will open its intensive renovation of the Strand Theater, one of so many additions to the city's quickly-changing Mid-Market area. Designed by SOM and Page & Turnbull, the new facility is located inside a 1917 building originally used for Vaudeville and then for second-run movies. The theater had been empty since 2003. The firms maintained the structure's facade and portions of its original auditorium, and created a new cafe, a revamped two-story lobby (with huge windows opening to the outside), and a 120 seat event space above the lobby. The 283-seat auditorium can be transformed into a cabaret-style venue with only 220 seats. The building's historic renovation (which included tearing out most of the interior to the studs and exposing long-covered masonry) and seismic upgrades, invisible to most visitors, were a giant task, especially since space was so tight and the building had been neglected for so long. Don't believe us? Look at the construction images below.
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San Francisco developer nixes BIG-designed Arts Center, plans smaller project

A mixed-use complex designed by New York- and Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is going to be, well, not quite as big. The San Francisco Mid-Market neighborhood has been quickly revitalizing since 2011, but the largest development in the area, located at 950–974 Market Street, has just been downsized. Mid-Market really began taking off after city officials instituted a tax break—nicknamed “the Twitter tax break” when Twitter famously decided to stay in the city. The effort has been seen as a success: many young tech companies have made the area their home, development proposals are flooding in, and a report by the San Francisco Controller’s office last November showed gains for the city reaching $3.4 million in 2013. But not so much for 950–974 Market Street. The developer responsible for the project, Developer Group I, has told the city that the mixed use complex—with over 300 residences, 250 hotel rooms, and a connecting art space with a green roof for art groups—will now be a smaller hotel and residence. The original central art space, with performance spaces and offices for art groups, would have allowed developers to raise the overall building height from 120 to 200 feet. Disputes over funding have caused tensions: “The city expected the developer to cover all costs, while Group I wanted nonprofit arts groups to chip in 50 percent,” wrote Curbed SF. Still no word on what's next. Updated designs and a revised timeline have not yet been released.
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San Francisco to launch Market Street Prototype Festival in April

In 2018, San Francisco plans to give Market Street a serious facelift. But first the city wanted a way to gather community input and include citizens in the design process. This was the beginning of the Market Street Prototyping Festival, which in April will unveil the work of 50 design teams up and down Market's sidewalks. The 50 teams were selected from more than 200 submissions by a jury made up of experts from local design firms, community organizations, technology companies, and government. The festival will bring artists, designers, architects, and makers into the communities that crisscross Market Street, putting their prototypes on public display for three days. “We believe in public spaces that are about the ideas and aspirations of the public themselves, not about us telling them what they should be aspiring to,” said Neil Hrushowy, manager of the City Design Group for the San Francisco Planning Department in a promo film from the festival’s website. The festival is the result of a partnership between the San Francisco Planning Department, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Knight Foundation. “What we’ve learned is that when we step back and allow the creative genius that’s here in San Francisco to merge with the community, the people who know Market Street the best, that’s when we have design ideas and solutions that create a sense of identity, a connection that really resonates with people, said Hrushowy. In October each of the winning projects received a $2,000 grant to help them get to the next phase of development and implementation. The funding will support design teams as they work to refine, fabricate and install their designs in “street life zones” within five “Festival Districts” along Market Street. Projects range from simple signage to high-tech installations. One project, Habit(At), by Russian Hill resident Dan Sullivan, proposes a network of mesh “safety nets” slung under trees along Market Street. The nets would catch the thousands of Western Swallowtail caterpillars that usually meet an untimely demise under the feet of commuters, enabling them to make it to the butterfly stage. Another, Common Ground, by Stanford-based Cloud Arch Studio, proposes an interactive pavilion made up of a grid of seating, landscape and pavement elements, all connected to an “unexpected” series of water features. The project is conceived as a “game” in which the water features are triggered when corresponding seating and pavement grids are occupied. Each district is being overseen by “Design Captains” from local companies and institutions like the Exploratorium, Studio for Urban Projects, Gehl Architects, California College of the Arts, and Autodesk. The captains will help shepherd the projects assigned to their districts through development, fabrication, and installation. To ensure that ideas from local communities are incorporated into designs, teams will also be participating in public forums. “We can’t make things behind closed doors or have a few people thinking about problems and challenges that affect so many hundreds of thousands of people,” said Deborah Cullinan, executive director for the Yerba Buena Center. Designers will collect feedback about their designs after installation, and at the end of the festival the city plans to take the best ideas, refine and incubate them, and make them a part of the new Market Street in 2018.
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Watch Renzo Piano talk about reinventing the shopping mall in a San Francisco suburb

Last summer, AN reported on Renzo Piano's City Center at Bishop Ranch, the architect's re-invention of the typical shopping center, mixing walkability, culture (including an integrated performance stage), community (including a public "piazza" space") and commerce. In a new short film about the project, Piano spoke about keeping people outside, creating open and transparent storefronts, making a building that will "practically fly above the ground." https://vimeo.com/110900031 The project, located in San Ramon, a remote eastern suburb of San Francisco, centers around the plaza, which is surrounded by six raised glass pavilions. Piano explained how he is creating a suburban building that is nonetheless unpredictable, natural and "very California." "After a while you hear a little bell ringing," explained Piano, of his design process epiphany. "This is not a shopping mall. It's something else."
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Wrapping up CCA’s Data Clay Symposium on combining experimental form with new materials

With the scent of wet St. Louis clay wafting through the air, the Data Clay Symposium kicked off at CCA last weekend. Hosted by the Architecture & Fine Arts Divisions at CCA, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the CCA Digital Craft Lab, the event joined architects, artists, designers, makers, critics and creators to discuss and display their latest syncretic experiments and the possibilities of the seemingly disparate mediums of data (i.e. computation) and clay. Moderated and curated by Joshua G. Stein and Del Harrow, and following on the heels of an exhibition on view at the San Francisco's Museum of Craft & Design, the symposium started with a talk by Future Cities Lab co-founder Jason Johnson and his Creative Architecture Machines research group at CCA, exhibiting student work that integrates robotics, interactivity, coding, and clay extrusions manifested in real time. Ron Rael of UC Berkeley and Emerging Objects followed with his research into Earth Architecture and the ancient strategies of clay building. Walking the line between passive building and high-tech computational techniques with his experiments on evaporative cooling bricks, Rael demonstrated the potential of the ancient and the modern coming together in a coherent and cogent architecture of today. Jenny Sabin of Cornell University and Jenny Sabin Studio presented work connecting biology, coding, and material systems that have fostered her experimental practice, which works at the intersection of rapid-prototyping, scientific exploration, and ceramics. With a BFA in Ceramics and a Masters of Architecture, Sabin has been able to integrate and develop a unique space for a practice that radically combines the digital and the analogue. Andy Brayman, a studio potter of the Kansas City–based Matter Factory, presented his unique take on traditional ceramics and data by showing off his knowledge of code and software platforms through his open-sourced self-education and research developments. The morning session came to a close with work presented by UC Berkeley PhD student Laura Devendorf and her playful syntheses of art practice, technology, and research. Her experiments, work at the intersections of a diverse set of disciplines, presenting innovative promise for the "maker" field.
The afternoon featured a keynote by Dries Verbruggen from Antwerp design studio Unfold. Verbruggen’s talk traced the history of digital design, then referenced his book Printing Things, which investigates the myriad techniques and processes of printing. He touched on notions of copying, iteration, and the physics of the physical world gone digital. One of the most intriguing projects of the symposium, on display at the Museum of Craft and Design, is Unfold's recreation of a potter's throwing wheel in digital form, which can be changed through your hands'  interaction.
Bobby Tigerman, associate curator of decorate arts and design at LACMA, followed, channeled remotely from Los Angeles, with a historical look at issues of technology and the hand-made, ending with a note that digital craft is on the rise and has prompted stimulating debate and connected cultures worldwide. From the History of Art and Architecture department at UC Santa Barabara, Assistant Professor Jenni Sorkin expounded on the nature of open source, and the hotly-debated realm of ownership and originality in object-hood. Wrapping up the Symposium was Stephanie Syjuco, a sculptor and Assistant Professor in the Ceramics department at UC Berkeley. She glided through her own work, focused on clay, data, and large scale installations, synthesizing traditional ceramic techniques and digital software such as Cinema 4D. Ending the day was an engaging debate revolving around disciplinary identity, scales and modes of production, the quality and quantity of education, and the ability of the arts, architecture, and design to make a real difference in the world today.
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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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An unlikely shipping container pop-up plaza is the brainchild of the San Francisco Giants and Gehl Studio

San Francisco's baseball team, the Giants, and Gehl Studio are planning a pop-up shipping container village on a waterfront parking lot just across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park in Mission Bay. The Yard, as the project is being called, will consist of a beer garden, coffee shop, retail stores and a waterfront deck, all on land intended for a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use development called Mission Rock. But until that project begins construction, the 9-acre site, according to Gehl Studio project lead Blaine Merker, will consist of 15 shipping containers salvaged from the Port of Oakland. The containers will line Terry A. Francois Boulevard, some perpendicular to the thoroughfare, some parallel, some stacked one atop the other, and most creating outdoor rooms for congregating. "This is not about a series of buildings, it's an integrated urban design," said Merker. "Our initial inspiration was to create the feeling of a walkable mixed-use street." According to the SF Chronicle, the Giants will spend $2.5 million on the project and pay $77,000 in annual rent to the Port of San Francisco. Until now, the city's most famous pop-up container village was Proxy, in Hayes Valley, designed by Envelope A+D. Plans for The Yard were presented to the Port of San Francisco this week, and the project is expected to open by March, prior to the baseball season.
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Snøhetta continues San Francisco streak with downtown highrise, and the town is talking

The momentum continues in San Francisco for the Norwegian firm Snøhetta with a recently-unveiled tower at the corner of the city's Market Street and Van Ness Avenue. And the project has been garnering some fairly untraditional responses from citizens. As proposed, the curving, 37-story One Van Ness tower would be divided by three large cuts, designed to lessen wind load and provide new common spaces. Paired with SCB, Snøhetta will work to replace a tower originally proposed on the site by Richard Meier and Partners. The building's carved-out center has also provided inspiration for illustrators to poke fun. Illustrator Susie Cagle, who told CityLab that the design reminded her of the last SF boom's "bubble mentality," drew the distressed building on the left, while Twitter user The Tens seems to think the building doesn't much care for its neighborhood, as demonstrated in the image below right. San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King took note of the parodies and dubbed theSnøhetta's creation the "Talking Tower." He was quick to add in another tweet that the impromptu naming was "not a critique"—he says he quite likes the tower. AN recently talked to Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers about his firm's continuing success in San Francisco, including an extension to SFMOMA, a consulting role on the (recently revised, and moved) Golden State Warriors Arena and a (ultimately unsuccessful) shortlisting for the Presidio Parklands. snoheta-sf-tower-03
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Eavesdrop> Study shows Angelenos hard up for rent

Forget about San Francisco being the hardest place to rent in California. According to a story in the New York Times (citing zillow.com), Angelenos spend 47 percent of their income on the median rent. That’s the highest in the country, and significantly higher than San Francisco, which ranks sixth on the list at 40.7 percent. And the problem appears ready to get worse as new supply struggles to keep up with demand in the overcrowded city. Maybe we’ll all have to move to Bakersfield.