Posts tagged with "San Francisco":

Placeholder Alt Text

CCA Launches Three New Masters Programs for 2013

Thinking about getting a masters degree but haven’t found the right field? California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco just made it easier, announcing three new graduate programs beginning in 2013, bringing the total number of post-professional offerings to eleven. The trio of curricula includes: a Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL), a MFA in Comics, and a MFA in Film. The two-year MAUDL focuses on the future of urbanism and teaches a range of urban design strategies and data-visualization techniques. The three-year MFA in Comics is headed by Eisner-nominated graphic novelist Matt Silady. And CCA’s MFA in Film specializes in multidisciplinary approaches. Classes begin Fall 2013. Applications for all three programs are being accepted now through January 5, 2013 at www.cca.edu.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories at SFMOMA

Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street San Francisco Through November 4 Naoya Hatakeyoma’s award winning photography contrasts the reciprocal impact of human industries on the natural world and that of natural forces on human activities. His photographs, ranging in topic from German coalmines to the underground Tokyo sewer systems, chronicle manmade industrial formations from their time of creation to their degeneration and ultimate decay, all captured in a seemingly objective yet sublime manner. Through this impartial method, devoid of speculation and sentiment, Hatakeyoma’s images garner the greatest impression on the viewer. Hatakeyoma was born in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture in 1958. His latest work, Rikuzentakata illustrates the devastation caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in his birthplace. In the first ever solo U.S museum exhibition, curated by Lisa J. Sutcliffe, SFMOMA showcases more than 100 photographs and 2 video installations spanning Hatakeyoma’s entire career.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Field Conditions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Field Conditions San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA Through January 6, 2013 Blurring the distinction between conceptual art and theoretical architecture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art investigates the conception and experience of space by using the notion of “field” as a reference. Curator Joseph Becker describes the pieces in the exhibition as “spatial experiments,” united by the use of architectural devices to describe a spatial condition. The term “field conditions” derives from the 1996 essay by architect Stan Allen in which he describes a shift from traditional architectural form toward an understanding of systems and networks, a “field” being described by the interconnections of discrete points that constitute the whole. Many works in the exhibition deploy a process of serializing and accumulating, describing spatial qualities through deformation (such as Conflict Space 3, 2006, by Lebbeus Woods, above).
Placeholder Alt Text

Proposals About New Microapartments Highlight Benefits and Drawbacks

Take a minute to imagine what you would do if you had to cram your life into 270 square feet. In a typical ranch-style home, 270 could be a master bedroom, or a small living room, or a one-car garage. Now how about 220 square feet? It might make a shed or a bedroom. Now imagine this 15 by 18 foot or 15 by 15 foot space as your home. Though it might sound more like another Ikea advertisement, two high-rent cities—New York and San Francisco—have been playing with the concept of permitting very small “micro-apartments” to alleviate high rents. By creating smaller housing, the idea goes, prospective renters will have a less expensive option and the city will be able to increase the density of residential units without increasing building size, always a contested point in neighborhood planning. On the West Coast, Berkeley developer Patrick Kennedy is advocating for his "SmartSpace" concept for San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  Each unit would have 150 square feet of living space with a kitchen, bathroom, and closet giving the apartment a total of 220 square feet. It has been rumored that San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener will bring a proposal to reduce the minimum-square-footage zoning requirement—currently 280 square feet—to the city’s Board of Supervisors though nothing has been released by the San Francisco City Council. In New York, Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) have proposed a micro-living model for New York City,  and they recently announced an open competition—called “adAPT NYC"—for a micro-unit building to be built in Kips Bay on the east side of Manhattan. With accompanying site-specific waivers for zoning regulations for residential density and minimum-dwelling-unit size, the city government’s proposal has retained a larger amount of control over what they consider to be a pilot project. The attention given these two projects on either coast reflects both the micro-unit’s potential as a solution for New York and San Francisco’s frenzied rental markets, as well as society's interest in a form of housing yet unexplored in U.S. cities. The most immediate concern raised by architects attending an NYC HPD pre-submission conference held at the Center for Architecture is the qualifications written into the adAPT NYC competition. Among other required developer qualifications, the evaluation criteria of the competition, only 30 percent consideration is given to the design. The price offered to the city for the city-owned land gets ten percent, giving wealthy developers an edge. Meanwhile, the size of the property constrains the scale of the project. A mock-up by HPD shows only eight units per floor and an overall program of seven residential floors, making the scale too small to entice wealthy developers or make a substantial impact on affordable housing in the city. Overall, the restrictions overshadow innovation. A more embedded issue with the development of smaller spaces is how a change in apartment size functions within the larger regulatory system. Regulations, such as those associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other codes, put stringent requirements on design, potentially restricting the possible solutions for addressing the design of an apartment within such a small area. Another objection addresses yet another nebulous consideration: can a 220-square-foot space be sufficient for occupants? Not only does this question hinge, quite literally, on multipurpose design elements such as the bed/shelf/couch or kitchen/workspace/storage combinations, but on quality of life questions. Common amenities are suggested as a solution to small apartments, such libraries, gyms, game rooms, and home theaters. But including common rooms compromises the inclusion of more apartments. Images of crowded tenements still resurface in debates about residential density. While small spaces can be made comfortable with high quality and often expensive space-saving designs, will all micro-apartments come with these amenities or will the regulatory changes simply become an opportunity to increase density? Juli Weiner addressed this question most succinctly in a recent editorial for the New York Times:
I’m so glad you could make it to my microhousewarming. Ha-ha, no, there’s still going to be a lot of fun, I’m just calling it that because of how much I’m loving my new Kips Bay-area, Bloomberg-administration-ordered, 275-square-foot microapartment. You can put your coat right ... there on your shoulders! Please keep your coat on. One of Gerald’s friends brought a hat, so unfortunately space is a bit tight in the closet.
Placeholder Alt Text

Design Submission

David Hecht of San Francisco firm Tannerhecht recently presented the plans for a mid-rise condo in the city’s SoMa district in a community meeting held on site at an S&M Club. No, the architects are not into bondage. In fact Hecht had originally been told the site was vacant, but it turned out that the longstanding club was still around, so instead of presenting in a community hall the plans were displayed, we hear, among leather costumes and lots of Purell bottles.

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge Set to Sparkle with Massive Lighting Display

Video rendering of the Bay Lights (courtesy TBL)  “What if the West Span [of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge] wasn't a bridge and instead were a canvas?” asked Ben Davis, founder of creative agency Words Pictures Ideas and man behind the The Bay Lights (TBL) some time ago. That question soon became the foundation for San Francisco’s latest high-tech public art project that’s got even Silicon Valley abuzz. With the support of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and major Silicon Valley bigwigs, TBL is planning to put up an ethereal light show 1.5 miles wide and 230 feet high covering the west span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. “The Bay Bridge slipped into her sexy sister's shadow and silently slogged for nearly 75 years. With her diamond anniversary upon us, I wanted to give the gray lady a moment to sparkle again,” said Davis. Developed by American artist Leo Villareal, the installation, targeted to start at the end of this year, definitely won't lack sparkle. The project comprises 25,000 individually programmable LED lights set to produce abstract patterns inspired by the bridge's surroundings. When finished, the two-year light show will be seven times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th anniversary lighting display. Not to worry though, motorists, no need for sunglasses while driving at night; Davis said the LEDs will be set one foot apart and “placed on the outside of the two-and-a-quarter inch vertical suspension cables, facing away from drivers,” effectively making them invisible to the bridge’s commuters. But before the Golden Gate gets its silvery sister, TBL needs to raise $1.8 million by July 1. The project has already raised $5.2 million in gifts and pledges thanks in part to a Tech Challenge it launched last May. High-tech investors include angel investor Ron Conway, tech investor Adam Gross, and Wordpress Founder Matt Mullenweg. If you want to add to the pot, support the project on Causes.
Placeholder Alt Text

Scientists Wire a Luxury Tower in San Francisco with Seismic Sensors

California’s tallest residential-only tower and, according to some, the ugliest building in San Francisco has been given a new purpose following the installation last month of 72 accelerographs, or strong motion seismographs, within the building. Through a collaboration between the California Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Madnusson Klemencic Associates, the building’s structural engineers, the 641-foot southern tower of the One Rincon Hill luxury condominium development at the base of the Bay Bridge is now home to the “densest network of seismic monitoring instruments ever installed in an American high-rise,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. These instruments, located at strategic points throughout 24 floors of the building, will provide “unprecedented” seismic data, which will in turn lead to better building codes and guidelines for structural engineers and future high-rise builders. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz of Chicago and completed 2009, One Rincon Hill has been a target of architectural debate since before it was completed, but its merits as an earthquake-resistant piece of engineering have never been doubted. While the building resembles an Ionic Breeze air purifier from Sharper Image (the project was originally intended to serve as the company’s headquarters before financial problems befell them in 2005), it is outfitted with cutting-edge engineering, some of which is being used for the first time ever in the United States. Equipped with a ductile concrete core, a steal outrigger column system, buckling restrained braces, and a 54,000-gallon water tank at the top to counter the sway of the wind, One Rincon Hill is prepared to withstand an earthquake of 6.7 or greater. Which is good, since experts predict that there is a 63% chance of a quake of that magnitude occurring in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. The building’s location, height, and structural integrity together provided for a nearly ideal home for the largest collection of seismic sensors found in any California high-rise. These instruments, housed in small black boxes, are constantly operating, and will measure the buildings movement, both horizontal and vertical, up to a thousandth of an inch. In the case of a significant earthquake of a magnitude of 3 or higher, the data from the sensors will be transmitted immediately to state and federal scientists in Sacramento and Menlo Park to be analyzed. Anthony Shakal, head of the California Geological Survey’s Strong Motion Instrument Program expects the devices will help design safer buildings and hopes to install similar devices on tall buildings and other structures, collecting a wealth of information to assist in preventing future seismic disasters.
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets”

  One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality? A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco's Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.” Many cities have made strides to improve the everyday experience of urban dwellers; PlaNYC in New York is an excellent example. Unique to San Francisco’s approach though—encapsulated in the “Better Streets” website—is an emphasis on direct citizen engagement through the provision of necessary tools for engaging city government and the community. The website empowers individual citizens and associations to change their streets by including ideas for street improvements, accessible descriptions of necessary permit processes, and suggestions for building community support. On the page for each specific street improvement, a small box entitled "Agency who can help" provides access to further information on how to request a specific street improvement. Sfbetterstreets.org is best understood as city-supported citizen engagement. When the New York City Department of Transportation created a website to solicit crowd-sourced suggestions for locating stations of the upcoming Bike Share program, it received over 70,000 votes from interested members of the public. San Francisco’s “Better Streets” outreach is an important example of how to harness the public’s interest in shaping city planning. Although a city-led initiative, “Better Streets” taps into the city itself, acknowledging what Jane Jacobs believes to be the most knowledgeable voice in the city: the people themselves.
Placeholder Alt Text

LA the Latest to Join the Nationwide Bike Share Game

Over the weekend, over 100,000 pedestrians and cyclists packed the streets of Los Angeles for the city's CicLAvia open streets initiative, a play off of the the Ciclovia in Bogotá, Columbia which popularized the movement to shut down city streets to cars and turn them over to the community for a day. But masses of people taking to the streets wasn't the big news out of LA. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a surprise announcement that the city is the latest to join the bike share craze that's been pedaling across the nation. When it opens later this year, LA's bike share system will be among the largest in the country, so AN decided to take stock of where some of the biggest initiatives stand today. Los Angeles will be partnering with local bike share company Bike Nation to bring 4,000 bikes distributed over 400 stations throughout the city, marking a $16 million investment by the company. Bike sharing programs have been popular because of these public-private partnerships where the physical infrastructure is paid for by a private operator and funded by branding and member fees. According to StreetsBlog LA, the mayor said, "Angelenos are aching for a day without a car." He jokingly invoked the catch-phrase "Carmaheaven" describing the splendor of car-free streets created during last year's infamous Carmageddon. A previous attempt at initiating a bike share program failed in 2008 as many worried a flood of inexperienced cyclists would overwhelm the city, but times have changed. The city hopes to have the program installed in phases over the next couple years, with the first bikes hitting the streets as early as the end of the year. Farther north in California, a regional bike share system is taking shape in San Francisco and several Silicon Valley cities. 500 bike will be distributed throughout downtown San Francisco just before the opening of the America's Cup boat race. An additional 500 bikes will be located near transit stops in Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. StreetsBlog SF reports that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has set a goal of 20 percent of trips in the city on bike by 2020. On the east coast, New York's massive 10,000 bike strong system will be the largest in the country by far and is expected to open this July. The city has been presenting preliminary station maps to community boards after a public input process earlier this year and a finalized map is expected to be released soon. 600 stations are planned across Manhattan and Brooklyn. Excitement across the city has been growing as evidenced by a recent bike share exhibition at the Center for Architecture. In Chicago, many have been waiting to see if DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein can pull of another bike share success story like he did when he helped set up a Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC. His newest program will launch this September, sprinkling some 3,000 bikes across 300 stations in the Windy City with another 2,000 bikes and 200 more stations in the following two years. Mobility in the city took one additional step forward last Friday as the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee approved a contract with Alta Bike Share of Portland, Oregon to provide the thousands of new bikes. But not to be left out, that bike Mecca of American cities—Portland—is starting up its own bike share system as well. The city released an RFP for a bike operator in March and bids are due at the end of May. With an anticipated opening set for April 2013, expect to see even more bikes will be cruising the Rose City. Bike Portland noted that the city is hoping to use the bike stations as place-making devices to maximize their benefits. Citizens are currently being invited to propose bike station locations on an interactive map.
Placeholder Alt Text

America’s Cup Carousel Keeps Turning

The real estate roulette wheel known as the San Francisco America’s Cup is still in spin.  In the latest turn of events, the city has kicked in a modest $8 million or so to complete partial repairs to Piers 30-32, which had previously been removed from the deal by the privately-run America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). Then, citing difficulties in securing corporate sponsors, the Authority named a new CEO and cut its staff in half. It’s sounding like the America’s Cup isn’t going to be quite the mega-draw that the ACEA thought and that the investor with the most skin in the game, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, wasn’t willing to risk the $100 million or so he would be contributing. While many in San Francisco are bemoaning the loss of the opportunity to remake some of the most dilapidated parts of the city's waterfront, the ability to attract spectators to competitive sailing is the core issue.  The Cup will still be an exciting event in San Francisco but to be a catalyst to revitalize portions of the waterfront it will take a sustained effort.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Architecture in the Expanded Field

Architecture in the Expanded Field CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts 1111 8th St., San Francisco Through April 7 Theorist and critic Rosalind Krauss’s 1979 text “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” attempts to identify the scope of sculpture in a time when artists were redefining its traditional limits to include considerations of architecture, landscape, and space. The Wattis attempts a similar redefinition of the field of architecture; installations explore material, spatial, and perceptual concerns with emerging experimental technologies outside the limits of traditional architectural practice. A full-scale installation within and outside of the gallery transports visitors into the immersive environment, while a surface component presents the mapped expanded field of architectural installation.
Placeholder Alt Text

Salesforce’s Pastel Campus on Hold In SF

The SF Chronicle reports that tech company Salesforce.com has put its big plans for a 2 million square foot Mission Bay campus on hold. Recently deceased architect Ricardo Legoretta was to lead the project, which would have included four colorful buildings and a large public plaza on 14 acres across from the UCSF Mission Bay  campus. The company will instead rent big blocks of space throughout the city until it decides what to do with the site. Stay tuned for more.