Up in Northern California, Andrew Wolfram has bolted Perkins + Will’s San Francisco office to become a principal at TEF (Tom Eliot Fisch). Wolfram was project architect for the SF Ferry Building, and also worked on the renovation of 140 New Montgomery, Timothy Pflueger’s art deco skyscraper for Pacific Telephone. (Photo: Courtesy Andrew Wolfram)
Posts tagged with "San Francisco":
After 12 years at the helm of AIA San Francisco, Margie O'Driscoll announced Monday that she is stepping down as its Executive Director. Under O'Driscoll the chapter initiated several significant programs, tapping into the city's passion for architecture, design, and social conscience. These include its home tours (the first of its kind in the Bay Area); the hugely popular Architecture and the City Festival; measures and collaborations to address issues like licensure, intern development, and pro bono work; and, with local radio station KALW, the successful show 99 percent invisible. The chapter also undertook a renovation of its offices inside the historic Hallidie Building. "The more we tried the more enthusiastic and even insatiable the public became about the programs we did," said O'Driscoll. (Photo: Courtesy Margie O'Driscoll)
Can better design save lives? That question is at the center of a proposal by Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA) to transform crosswalks along San Francisco’s Divisadero Street. The project, Sous Les Paves, originated in a GOOD design challenge by the Center for Architecture and Design. With help from AIA San Francisco, OPA partnered with local advocacy organization Walk San Francisco in a bid to improve pedestrian safety at street crossings. The proposal couldn’t be more timely. According to Walk San Francisco, at least three pedestrians have died in city crosswalks since New Year’s Eve alone. OPA began its design with a rudimentary pedestrian-safety tool: the bulb-out, which projects the sidewalk into the street. But while bulb-outs increase visibility, they also make pedestrians more vulnerable. OPA Principal Zoë Prillinger explained: “Our first thought was, when we looked at the curb extension, was that it should be modified to protect the pedestrian.” The designers elected to build protective ridges along the edge of each bulb-out. This led to a second thought. “If you’re building up the curb extension, what else can it do? If you’re creating a kind of public space, what can we do to augment that public space?” OPA hit upon the idea of treating the protective ridges as planters, creating a new kind of green space at pedestrian crossings. At an urban scale, these mini-parks would connect to median plantings and, eventually, city parks. The designers chose Divisadero Street for their project in part because its traffic lanes are separated by a median. “Median strips [create] a kind of link between intersections, a language of green space: median strips, curb extensions,” Prillinger said. “[You] start to see streets stitched together by these green moments.” As for the architectural language of the crosswalks themselves, OPA employed a variation on the black-and-white zebra crossing. The diagonal hatch extends into the sidewalk as well as the street. “The hatch implies a dual condition,” Prillinger explained. “It’s kind of a hybrid condition. We’re thinking of streets as a place where both cars and pedestrians belong.” OPA’s relatively simple design, comprising the hatch pattern, curb ridges, and median ridges, is a kit of parts designed for flexible use around the city. The firm “created a language that’s modular, that can fit different situations, to create a kind of new public space,” Prillinger said. That language, moreover, could be used to help define an area, like Divisadero Street, that doesn’t yet have a distinct aesthetic identity. “San Francisco is conservative, it’s very hard for planners even to think about doing anything that has a real presence,” Prillinger said. At the same time, “There are real opportunities [to do things] that are more consciousness-raising.” OPA worked with the city Planning Department late last year to outline some of the obstacles to implementing Sous Les Paves. Next, the designers will meet with the Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA), representatives of the Fire Department, and other stakeholders to explore opportunities to realize the design. “I really would like some element of this project to get off the ground,” Prillinger said. “It would be lovely for San Francisco to do something that’s not just progressive environmentally, but also combines progressive architectural language.”
If you’re looking for change in San Francisco, look no further than the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. Central SoMa, a 24-square-block area between the central business district and Mission Bay, has been targeted for up-zoning and other public improvements as part of the Planning Department’s Central SoMa Plan (previously the Central Corridor Plan). The neighborhood is also the site of several major construction projects, including a $56 million renovation of the Moscone Center and the extension of Muni’s T Third Line. All of the above may be affected by another potentially more radical change: Central SoMa has been identified as San Francisco’s first eco-district, as we reported last year. The district has taken some big steps since we last checked. The eco-district concept—as realized in Seattle, Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, Denver, and elsewhere—takes a neighborhood-level approach to confronting environmental concerns. The goal is to maximize sustainable infrastructure by aggregating demand and coordinating implementation. In an eco-district, multiple property owners might choose to make a group purchase of alternative energy systems, for instance, or share greywater for reuse. An eco-district is a network of public and private partnerships, and thus goes beyond both planning policy and individual responses to ecological concerns. The Central SoMa Eco-District project is chugging along, thanks to a set of task-force recommendations [pdf] published in November. The task force included representatives of the city’s Planning Department, Department of Environment, Department of Public Health, and Public Utilities Commission, as well as advocacy groups and several design and building firms. It identified nine performance areas for consideration: energy, water, materials management, habitat/ecosystem function, equitable development, health and well-being, community identity, access and mobility, and economic development. In addition to brainstorming project opportunities for each area, the group recommended the formation of a steering committee to identify, manage, and measure eco-district goals. According to Kate McGee, lead planner at the San Francisco Planning Department, the Central SoMa Eco-District is in the second of three developmental phases: The first, over the past two years, involved educating San Franciscans. The second and current phase is what McGee calls questioning. The third phase is change. Of the questions being asked, McGee identified three as the most important. The first: what does the Central SoMa Eco-District mean to me? The Planning Department is working with large-scale developers to weigh the costs and benefits of particular infrastructure developments. For smaller developers, meanwhile, the city is considering requiring an assessment to identify a parcel’s environmental potential within the context of the eco-district as a whole. The second question is what will the Central SoMa Eco-District require me to do? To help the community along, the Planning Department has collected and is aggregating data on current district performance. “We’re going to take the first step and say, ‘here’s where you are,’ then say, ‘let us know what you want to do and how we can help,’” said McGee. The final question is how will the Central SoMa Eco-District be implemented, monitored, and managed? The task force has recommended that a steering committee consider some initial goals for the eco-district and decide how they might be implemented. The committee will consider from several oversight structures available, including forming a non-profit or establishing a Joint Powers Authority, before the city moves forward with financing the eco-district. While San Francisco’s first eco-district remains, in some sense, theoretical, its successful realization could bring tangible financial, environmental, and public-health benefits to residents of Central SoMa. “In many respects it really is quite preliminary,” said McGee. “But I feel that once we get the structure in place, things will move really quickly.” She is eager for the final phase of eco-district development. “When we get through the questioning,” she said, “we will then start to create change.”
UNESCOitalia: Italy’s World Heritage Sites in the Works of 14 Photographers Mueso Italo Americano Fort Mason Center, Building C San Francisco December 6 to January 26, 2014 In celebration of 2013: The Year of Italian Culture in the United States, the Museo Italo Americano, in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco, will be showcasing a collection of images of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage sites as seen through the lenses of 14 prominent Italian photographers. To be proclaimed a World Heritage site, a number of criteria must be met, and the site must hold outstanding universal value by means of exceptional design or cultural significance to a group or civilization. As of June 2013, Italy has 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is more than any other single country in the world. The traveling show will be on display at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco from December 6, 2013, to January 26, 2014. Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero, describes the exhibition as, “A journey in pictures, bringing the Italian wonders to the United States. Fine art photography for a fascinating exhibition: a visual adventure across the length and breadth of our country.”
Earlier this fall, three finalists presented their vision for developing Mid-Crissy Field into a public cultural space, on an eight-acre urban waterfront site in the Presidio, a San Francisco park on the bay. The Presidio Trust, one of the organizations that manages the parklands, had stated they would choose a winning proposal late fall after public feedback. But in a recent Board of Directors meeting, no finalist was selected: instead, the Presidio Trust has asked the three teams to revise their designs. The teams participating in the challenge are WRNS Studio/Chora Group (proposal: Bridge/Sustainability Institute), Urban Design Group for filmmaker George Lucas (proposal: Lucas Cultural Arts Museum), and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and EHDD (proposal: Presidio Exchange, or PX). The Trust pointed to funding issues for The Bridge/Sustainability Institute; design incompatibility for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum; and a lack of programmatic focus for the Presidio Exchange needing more programmatic focus. "Such is the importance of the site that we take seriously our duty to do right by it, even if that means waiting," wrote the Trust in a statement. The revised proposals are due by January 3rd, 2014. After that, the Trust will hold a public meeting in January before deciding what will be next for the park.
The rumors are true: Google is building that barge docked at Treasure Island on the San Francisco Bay. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered documents submitted to the city by By and Large, a company connected to Google, that revealed plans for a "studio and tech exhibit space." The 250-foot-long and 50-foot-tall structure is being built from welded recycled shipping containers, with the design led by two coastal firms, Gensler in San Francisco and LOT-EK in New York. The project will include over a dozen sails resembling fish fins, to help provide shade and shelter, and come foul weather, the ability to be lowered. The barge will make the rounds throughout San Francisco, stopping at several docks (each for a month), including Fort Mason, Piers 30-32, and Angel Island, among others. It will eventually make its way down to San Diego and other port cities along the west coast. The exhibit is expected to receive up to 1,000 visitors a day. Three additional barges in the works. Read more about Google's plans here.
Los Angeles–based artist Cliff Garten has just completed his latest commission: Ribbons, a series of landscapes and sculptures in the courtyard of the Beaux-Arts 50 United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. The symmetrical design riffs on the existing structure's classical uniformity by inserting a sculptural collage of paving, seating, fountains, and plantings into the building's 20,000 square foot courtyard. Curving concrete pavers are set into a larger surface of decomposed granite, while cast concrete benches twist as if made of rubber, appearing to lift out of the ground pattern. "Concrete is great. I think I have finally found my medium for infrastructure," said Garten, who noted that he's hoping to develop a line of street furniture with the manufacturer Quick Crete. The project was commissioned by the General Services Administration's Art in Architecture Program, which sets aside a half percent of construction funds for federal projects for art. See more pictures below.
That old saw about how you can't take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan. Rebar initially experimented with the Parkcycle concept for one of its famous Park(ing) Days in San Francisco. The company's website explains the concept as a “human-powered open space distribution system designed for agile movement within the existing auto-centric urban infrastructure.” Copenhagen-based public art group N55 sees Parkcycle as an alternative to top down urban development with each Parkcycle forming an individual component within a larger system. As more and more people construct their own Parkcycles, they can come together to form swarms, taking over their local urban environments. Each bicycle-park can be modified and designed to follow local bicycle standards. Additionally, N55 proposes that the Parkcycles could be equipped with small pavilions, trees, solar panels, and even portable grills and mobile kitchens. The original Parkcycle was built in collaboration with California-based kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin and debuted in 2007. Photos courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat.
Unbuilt San Francisco Multiple venues San Francisco Through November 2013 AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design, California Historical Society/SPUR, The Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkley, and the San Francisco Public Library present this ambitious collaborative exhibition of architecture that never came to be. Spread throughout five venues, Unbuilt San Francisco describes a parallel history of “what if’s” and “could have beens” of architecture and urban design that were too fantastic or too grandiose for the City by the Bay. These unrealized visions offer San Franciscans a glimpse of the hopes and ambitions of past generations, as well as provide inspiration for the future of architecture and the city. Images offered in the exhibition include a grand casino on Alcatraz, freeways encircling the city, rejected neighborhood renewal plans, alternate designs for famous landmarks including San Francisco City Hall and the Ferry Building, and ecological provocations of today’s architectural vanguard. The opening reception will be held in Annie Alley between 678 and 654 Mission Street in San Francisco on September 6 at 5:00 p.m.
AN’s long-awaited facades+ PERFORMANCE Conference is finally here! Join us tomorrow on Symposium Day as an array of renowned architects and engineers representing leading firms from all across the nation—and the world—unite at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. These prominent industry leaders will deliver presentations and lead discussion-based panels on the fast-paced evolution of façade technology. Conference co-coordinator Jeffrey Vaglio of Enclos and Claire Maxfield of Atelier Ten will kick off the long-awaited event with their opening remarks. The morning Keynote Address will be delivered by Ecoarchitect Dr. Kenneth Yeang of Hamzah & Yeang Architects, who has flown in all the way from Malaysia to speak at facades+! Through his presentation Yeang will examine the principles of green architecture and will discuss several topics in ecological design, including the green building as a “living system,” the vegetated facade, and the facade as a “linear park.” Gary Handel of Handel Architects will deliver the afternoon Keynote Address in which he will explore the history of the development of glass facades and identify future advances in facade technology. The event features a full day of speaker highlights including David Frey & Brian Cook of SOM who will discuss facade delivery challenges in China, Stephen Selkowitz of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who will report on the measured building energy performance of the New York Times HQ Building, Edward Peck of Thornton Tomasetti who will speak on “The Components of Performance,” Maurya McClintock of McClintock Facade Consulting who will speak on “Envelope Energy Performance and Their Role in Deep Energy Retrofit Projects,” and Robert Aish of Autodesk and Gustav Fagerstrom of Buro Happold who will discuss “Performative Facade Design with Computation and Topology." Also on the agenda are a series of stimulating panel discussions including the Digital Technologies panel moderated by Benedict Tranel of Gensler, the Innovation Panel moderated by Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab, and The Materials Panel moderated by Geoff Rossi of Element. Join a consortium of your peers at facades+ PERFORMANCE tomorrow, and don't miss out on this great networking opportunity! Learn more about our conference and register for the symposium and workshops here!
Sometimes the most effective way to learn something is to try it for yourself. Register for any one of AN's facades+PERFORMANCE Technology Workshops on July 12th and work one-on-one with renowned leaders in digital fabrication while gaining hands-on experience with cutting edge technologies. Participants will not only walk away having earned 8 LU AIA CE credits but also having created their very own prototypes! Here is a quick overview of this year's line-up of Technology Workshops. Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab, CCA and his associate, Ripon DeLeon will lead the “Responsive Facades” workshop. Sign up for this workshop and learn how Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino can be used as technical tools in the design and prototyping of high-performance facades. In his “Design Scripting” workshop Gil Akos of Mode Collective well explores the fundamental concepts and strategic approaches to design scripting. Through this workshop students will learn to use Python and Rhino3D through hands-on exercises. Andrew Kudless of Matsys presents students with his “Intro/Intermediate Grasshopper” workshop. By working with Grashopper for Rhino3D participants will walk away having gained a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of parametric design. Bill Kreysler of Kreysler & Associates returns to AN’s facades+ Conference with his “Hands-On Composites” workshop. Bill, along with his associate Joshua Zabel will discuss and demonstrate the development of composite components for architectural facades. Participants will walk away have made their very own FRP shapes. AN’s facades+ PERFORMANCE Conference is just 3 days away, but there’s still time to register! Learn more about our workshops and register for the conference here!