Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

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San Francisco’s huge 5M Development releases Environmental Impact Report

Forest City has announced that it is moving forward with a plan to build a residential and office complex on four acres around the San Francisco Chronicle building, a 1924 structure located on the corner of 5th and Mission streets in the South of Market (Soma) neighborhood. The developer published the Environmental Impact Report (PDF) for the plan, known as "5M," last Wednesday and presented it at a public hearing of the city's Planning Commission this week. The design team for the project includes architect Kohn Pederson Fox, urban designer SiteLab, and historic resources consultant Architectural Resources Group.  According to the EIR, the project would contain about 1.8 million square feet of development, presented in two different options. In the "Office Scheme," it would include about 870,000 square feet of offices, 800,000 square feet of residential, and 150,000 square feet of active ground floor uses. In the "Residential Scheme," it would include about 600,000 square feet of office uses, 1 million square feet of residential, and 150,000 square feet of ground floor use. In either scheme, the plan would renovate two existing buildings (including the Chronicle Building), build four new buildings, and demolish six existing buildings. On its web site, the developers call for "carved buildings," to add visual interest, "sculpted high rises," a careful balance of uses, and a pedestrian experience enhanced with active storefronts and art walls. According to the Chronicle, in addition to the new facilities, the development would include a 12,000 square foot "Mary Square," and a 22,000 square foot green space on the Chronicle Building Roof. The project, which is facing heavy criticism from local neighborhood groups,  is expected to get underway by 2016 or 2017 and phase in over about ten years. Public comments will be heard until December 1. Forest City said renderings should be available within about a month, so stay tuned.
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San Francisco legislator proposes solar panels and green roofs for all new buildings

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is proposing legislation to mandate that all new buildings in the city contain solar panels, rooftop gardens, or both. The resolution, called Solar Vision 2020, would form a permanent program (extending the work of the pilot GoSolarSF) to help building owners pay to install solar arrays, set a goal of doubling the city's solar energy production, and install 2 megawatts–worth of panels on residences citywide each year. “Many landlords have told me that if we just had the right financing mechanisms, they’d be interested in doing this,” he told the Chronicle. In addition to the local plans, a statewide bill called the Solar Permitting Efficiency Act—which would streamline the permitting processes around solar power and save customers up to $1,000 each—has passed the legislature and is now waiting for Governor Jerry Brown's signature. Meanwhile the California Solar Initiative and the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit both provide rebates to would-be solar energy installers. In Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power offers the Solar Incentive Program, which provides rebates on photovoltaic installations, and supports Go Solar LA, established to reduce customers’ cost of installing solar PV systems.
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San Francisco Arts Commission Votes to Remove Diller Scofidio + Renfro Public Art Project

dsr-boot-01 In a move that has angered critics and scholars, the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) voted at its meeting on September 8 to remove the artwork, Facsimile, from the facade of the Moscone Center West. The move seals the fate of a project that began in 1996, when architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio defeated a pool of 62 applicants including Jenny Holzer, Anish Kapoor, and Nam June Paik for the site-specific project on the surface of the convention center in downtown San Francisco. dsr-boot-02 Conceived at a moment before the now-ubiquitous experience of cyberspace, Facsimile combined images of the surrounding city, live transmissions from inside the building, and hundreds of hours of footage filmed by the architects. Displayed on a screen that would travel from one end of the building to the other, the images fused elements of cinema, television, and video art into a unique work of architecture that, eighteen years after its initial conception, remains wittier and more ambitious than today's typically banal media facades. Every element of Facsimile involved custom fabrication and technical ingenuity. Despite occasional instances of bad luck—most notably an accident in 2003—Diller, Scofidio, and project leader Matthew Johnson donated hundreds of hours of their time to the city and remained optimistic that the project would become fully operational this year after the installation of a new video card. A bracing defence of free artistic and architectural expression, Facsimile precipitated a legal ruling that explicitly denied the use of its screen to advertisers. Despite a request by the architects for a one-month delay of any action by the SFAC and an offer to donate $10,000 to finish the project and raise an endowment to cover the costs of its maintenance, Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs cited concerns about the project's long-term sustainability. The Commissioners voted 9-1 in favor of removing it from Moscone West's facade. Their decision comes at a moment when Diller Scofidio + Renfro is designing the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pacific Film/University Art Museum for UC Berkeley, and the Department of Art at Stanford University. It raises the troubling possibility that short-sightedness and provincialism may have trumped the commitment to supporting visionaries and cultural innovation on which San Francisco long has prided itself.  
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On View> “Home: My San Francisco” traces domestic space and identity

Home: My San Francisco AIA San Francisco Center For Architecture + Design Gallery San Francisco Through October 31 Home: My San Francisco is an exhibition designed by Julie Blankenship in collaboration with photographer Julie Sadowski examining the rapidly evolving design of domestic space in response to changing views of identity, family, work, life, technology, and sustainability. The show captures the narrative environments contained within the city’s indoor and built environments through photographs, supplemented with an online collection of images, interviews with residents, architectural drawings, and texts. Contents span a wide variety of architectural styles and neighborhoods, including single-family homes, contemporary renovations, cohousing, and multi-family residences. A few of the examples are Curran House, high-density affordable housing in the Tenderloin by David Baker Architects; Embassy in Lower Haight, an example of creative cohousing and the home of Reallocate.org; and a mid-century Forest Hills mansion built for baseball hero Willie Mays by Al Maisin.  
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Eavesdrop> West Coast Odds and Ends

In one of the few towns where the AIA has serious pull, the AIA San Francisco has named Jennifer Jones as its new Executive Director. Longtime HMC principal Kate Diamond has left her position and is looking for a new job. While it pales in comparison to the news that AECOM has merged with URS, forming the biggest firm in the galaxy, WSP has bought “global design giant” Parsons Brinckerhoff for $1.35 billion. That’s no joke either. Finally, after more than six years of waiting, SOM has begun work on its massive redevelopment of the WWII-era housing development, Park Merced. In San Francisco that’s like waiting for fifteen minutes.
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Remembering Doug Wright, the man who helped tear down highways in San Francisco and Portland

San Francisco's deputy mayor for transportation—who played an integral role in getting the city to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake—passed away on July 30th. He was 68. After the earthquake struck the city, Wright convinced former San Francisco mayor, Art Agnos, to help lead the effort to remove the highway and replace it—not with another highway, but instead with a boulevard at street level. In the 1970s, Wright worked as the planning director in Portland, Oregon. He set a major urban planning milestone in the United States: he got the city to take down a large portion of Harbor Drive, a highway along the Willamette River and build a park—the Tom McCall Waterfront Park (named after former Oregon governor, Tom McCall)—in its place. In many ways his actions were visionary, setting a precedent for large scale urban freeway removal projects. In later decades, other cities let go of portions of their elevated highways, such as Boston, Milwaukee, and Seattle. Seattle is currently in the midst of boring the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel and planning a major redevelopment of the waterfront, designed by James Corner Field Operations. "I hate the word 'vision,' but he had a vision as to how transportation should be part of larger efforts to sustain the urban environment," Rudy Nothenberg told the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a colleague of Wright and San Francisco's former chief administration officer. "More than anyone I worked with, he was the kind of person you would want as a fermenter of ideas and possibility."
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Foster + Partners Reveal Initial Renderings for San Francisco Tower

The latest playground for big-name architecture is San Francisco's Transbay District. As AN reported this spring, the city's forthcoming Transbay Transit Center has spurred new projects from some of the field's biggest names, including OMA, Studio Gang, Cesar Pelli, and Foster + Partners. Less than two weeks after Studio Gang revealed plans for its twisting tower in the district, Foster + Partners is out with some images of its own. Don't get too excited—they're fairly vague—but they were enough for San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King to call Foster's plan, "gasp-inducing...from the ground up." Here are the basics: the shorter of the two towers rises 605 feet and is entirely residential. The other includes apartments, offices, and a hotel, and tops out at 910 feet, which will make it the  second-tallest tower in the city. The tallest prize will go to Cesar Pelli’s 1,070-foot-tall Salesforce Tower that is currently under construction. “If built as now envisioned, the San Francisco tower would be equally futuristic, with brawny structural columns slicing across a mid-block space 80 yards wide,” King said, referring to Foster's taller tower that was designed with Heller Manus Architects. “Except for the elevator lobbies at the rear of the plaza the tower would begin 70 feet in the air, clad in glass and held in place by diagonal columns forming giant X's along the outer walls.” Foster considers the tower's appearance in the city's skyline just as important as how it meets the street. “At ground level, the buildings are open, accessible and transparent—their base provides a new ‘urban room’ for the region, and the new pedestrian routes through the site will knit the new scheme with the urban grain of the city,” Foster said in a statement on his firm's website.
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Unveiled> Jeanne Gang doing the Twist in San Francisco with new skyscraper

We've known for some time that Chicago architect and certified genius Jeanne Gang has been planning a residential tower for San Francisco's Transbay District, south of Market Street. Now we know what it will look like. Gang and developer Tishman Speyer have revealed renderings of a 400-foot-tall, 40-story building clad in masonry tiles at 160 Folsom Street. Units would contain large bay windows, a staple in the Bay Area. But the bays will jut out at sharp angles and change configuration as the building rises, creating what appears to be a twisting tower profile. "What I like about tall buildings is what you do with the height, the incremental moves along the way," Gang told San Francisco Chronicle critic John King. Studio Gang and Tishman Speyer both told AN that Gang could not comment at this point in the process. Thanks to a deal with local officials in which the building was granted another hundred feet of height, the development, located about a block from the Embarcadero, will—if approved—contain about 35 percent affordable housing. That's the same figure the overpriced city is hoping to achieve for future developments. Currently all projects in San Francisco are required to set aside about about 12 percent of their units as affordable, lest they pay a fee. The Transbay District, anchored by Pelli Clarke Pelli's Transbay Center, is now set to contain new buildings by Studio Gang, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Renzo Piano, and OMA, a remarkable conglomeration for an area that just a decade ago was a relative afterthought. Overall the district is set to contain more than six million square feet of new office space, nearly 4,400 new housing units, and about 100,000 square feet of new retail space, according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
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Ai Weiwei to exhibit at Alcatraz Island this September

Known for his political activism and for art that spans east and west, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will hold an exhibit on Alcatraz Island this September. The show will include seven works at the notorious former federal prison—with partners including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the For-Site Foundation. The installations will be spread throughout Alcatraz, including the 1941 New Industries Building, where prisoners worked in manufacturing or did laundry for local military bases. The A Block section of the 1912 Alcatraz Cellhouse will also open. It included solitary confinement cells as well as ones that contained typewriters and legal reference books. There will also be installations in the hospital and the Dining Hall, according to Architect. Ai Weiwei is a prisoner of sorts himself. He will work on the exhibit from China, since the Chinese government has barred him from leaving the country since 2011. To help visitors understand more about Weiwei's installations, guides will be stationed throughout Alcatraz, to be funded by a currently-in-progress Kickstarter campaign. The exhibit will run through April 2015.
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Moving West: Jonathan Massey To Direct California College of the Art’s Architecture Department

In the second significant departure this week from the Syracuse University School of Architecture, professor Jonathan Massey has been named the Director of Architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA). Massey, who chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse from 2007 to 2011, succeeds Ila Berman in the position. Although he spent four years in Los Angeles, Massey is new to San Francisco, and admitted, "I still have a lot to learn." So far he said he's impressed with the school's focus on digital craft, its ability to "tap into a broader Bay Area culture of innovation," its diversity of offerings, and its commitment to social justice. While it's too early to set out an agenda, Massey is interested in plugging faculty and students' digital skills into a larger framework, through municipal data, social media, and other means. He wants to connect a strength in formalism with political and social issues—what he called "socially engaged formalism—and he would like to expand the school's regional and global partnerships. Many of these initiatives, he posited, are likely already there, but may be "ready to be developed further." Massey holds a doctorate in the history of theory and architecture from Princeton, a master of architecture from UCLA, and a bachelor of arts from Princeton.
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Min | Day Unveiling Transformable Furniture For ICFF

MOD, the newly-created furniture wing from San Francisco architecture firm Min | Day, will be unveiling three new pieces at ICFF next week.  By making use of the human inclinations to rearrange and reconfigure, the pieces grow through a simple geometry of addition and subtraction. All three styles utilize playfulness and improvisation to create topological terrains.  The AVA is a steel storage system that on it’s own can be used as a stool or small table, however, when combined with more than one unit it can quickly become a complex shelving system, room divider and space converter whose precise tonalities along with its lightweight metal and shifting angles create inherent drama. Soft Stones furniture is comprised of eight unique components that transform from a lounge when fitted in place to individual seats and small tables when broken apart and scattered throughout a room. The line is constructed out of steel, foam, and upholstery fabric and comes in five colors. It resembles, perhaps, an undiscovered geologic formation, as it’s geometry pervades a muted yet playful interpretation of shattered boulders. Pentables, a five-sided table system originally designed with students at the University of Nebraska is made of welded steel and goes together  quickly. It grows in similar ways to the AVA system, where it can exist on its’ own but can also be added to with additional units.
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Apple to build a new transportation center and increase shuttle service

Like many major tech companies in Silicon Valley, Apple provides free transportation for its employees living in the Bay Area. About 28 percent of Apple employees do not drive to work, instead taking employer-owned biodiesel shuttles, biking, or walking. In an effort to bring that percentage up to 34 percent (a figure that will help get their new Norman Foster–designed campus in Cupertino approved), the company is expanding its fleet of buses and building a dedicated transportation center. With an annual budget of $35 million—that's approximately $21,000 per employee—the Transportation Demand Management program, as it is formally called, provides an average of 1,600 employees a free ride to work each day. Shuttles owned and operated by companies such as Google and Apple have sparked recent protests, prompting the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to approve a new plan: company shuttle buses will have to pay $1 for every stop made, every day. The proposal is set to go into effect this July and raise $1.5 million over the first year and a half. More info at the Los Angeles Times.