Posts tagged with "San Francisco":
According to recent findings, San Francisco’s sinking condo tower just got a little bit more down to earth.
The 58-story Millennium Tower, designed by Handel Architects, has sunk nearly 17 inches since its opening in 2009. Last summer, controversy enveloped the failing monolith when the settling came to light, as residents posted videos online of objects rolling across their floors to demonstrate just how slanted the 419-unit building had become.
Recently, engineers with Arup—employed to work on the currently under-construction Salesforce Tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects next door—inspected the Millennium Tower’s rooftop height and found that the tower had sunk an additional 2 ½ inches beyond the initial 14 ½–inch drop recorded last year. Increasingly, the tower is tilting precariously toward the Salesforce Tower, as the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way. It is built on a foundation of concrete friction piles, driven between 60 and 90 feet into the soil, that do not rest on bedrock. The method is employed by several other developments in the area, though the type of settling occurring at the Millennium Tower has not been seen in any of those projects.
Troublingly, the tower is not only sinking, but it is sinking unevenly, resulting in a measurable slant to the 645-foot-tall complex. As the muddy and sandy soils beneath it give way, it continues to tilt precariously toward the Salesforce Tower. As of 2016, according to court documents, the tower exhibited a 2-inch westward tilt at the base and listed a whopping 10 inches at its top. Recent projections put the potential maximum drift at 10 inches every two years unless something is done to rectify the issue.
As can be expected, the structural deficiencies have resulted in a flurry of lawsuits, including one from the building’s homeowners’ association. The association is seeking to force Millennium Partners, developers and owners of the tower, to perform $150 million worth of foundation upgrades that would add 150 new end-bearing piles in an effort to rest the building on bedrock.
“This accelerated movement highlights the need to retrofit the foundation as soon as possible,” Daniel Petrocelli, attorney for the Millennium Tower homeowners’ association told NBC Bay Area. “The Millennium Tower Association will request an early trial in its ongoing lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable.”
Los Angeles–based Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) recently completed work on a 1,100-square-foot sheath for the IBM Watson Experience Center immersion room in San Francisco. The interpretive wrapper—fabricated by Arktura in Los Angeles and executed in conjunction with an overall interior design by Gensler’s San Francisco office—is designed to express data visualizations generated by IBM Watson’s computing powers while also concealing the 350-square-foot sales space from view.
For the project, the design team interpreted and translated data maps depicting the volume of digital sales on mobile devices between 2013 and 2015 in order to derive an expressive moiré-patterned cocoon made out of dual-layered, curvilinear CNC-milled aluminum plates. The plates, backed by bright white lights, can be read by Watson Center docents in order to express a so-called “data narrative” in which Big Data—data sets so complex or vast that conventional data processing can’t process them—plays the titular role charting the growing influence of mobile-based sales.
Describing the project, Alvin Huang, principal at SDA, said, “The kinetic moiré effect that is produced as visitors move around the immersion room breathes some life into the static pattern, which speaks to the fact that data is live and constantly changing—even though the installation itself is static.” IBM Watson Experience Center 505 Howard Street San Francisco Tel: (800) 426-4968 Architects: Synthesis Design + Architecture; Gensler
The residential tower has been plagued with issues since last year when news got out that it had sunk 16 inches since its opening in 2008 (make it 17 now). It’s not just sinking, either—the tower is settling unevenly and leaning more towards the northern side in a 14-inch tilt from the building’s roof.
Millennium Partners, the developers behind the Handel Architects–designed building, hired a team of engineers, who believe they have a solution that will prop the tower back up. According to LERA and DeSimone Consulting Engineers, drilling 50 to 100 new piles down to bedrock from the building’s basement will rectify the problem. This fix could cost up to $150 million.
The building’s million-dollar apartments have attracted big-name buyers, including San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. But when it was revealed that the tower had sunk more than its predicted six inches, residents filed individual lawsuits. The tower’s homeowners association (HOA) also filed a case against both Millennium Partners and Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the firm behind the adjacent Transbay Transit Center.
The gravity of the situation is increasing as a new report by Arup, which has conducted previous reports on the tower, reveals that the rate of sinking remains constant with no sign of let up. “This accelerated movement highlights the need to retrofit the foundation as soon as possible,” Daniel Petrocelli, who is the lead attorney against the developer, said in a statement in NBC Bay Area.
A statement released by the developers in response to the report continued to pin the blame on construction of nearby developments, which they claim destabilize the soil under the tower. “We are hopeful that the HOA will take steps to protect the building from further harm from adjacent construction at the Transbay Transit Center and Salesforce Tower projects,” the statement read. “Our top priority has always been getting to a fix.”
Fougeron Architecture uses an unusual rainscreen and sculptural stairs to enliven multifamily housing
400 Grove—a formerly vacant parcel that is now a 34-unit market-rate development by Fougeron Architects in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley—boasts a facade on Gough Street articulated by exaggerated bays along its uppermost floors, and pierced by a zigzagging, five-story-tall opening. The floors closer to the street feature opposing geometries with expanses of glass storefront on the ground-level retail spaces. The scissoring facades are clad in a rainscreen made out of deeply stained wooden dowels—a repetitive, vertically oriented hatch that softens the building’s sharper angles. The third floor is set back and rectilinear in comparison to those above, occupying the variable spaces underneath the overhanging floors.
The interruption in the Gough Street facade leads to an interior courtyard that contains private and shared outdoor spaces and circulation cores. The dowels make an appearance here as well as guardrails for the stairwells. The designers chose to sink the building’s parking garage five feet below grade, allowing for the courtyard to be slightly elevated above the street but not so high that it is inaccessible. The courtyard is visually connected to the commercial spaces via a large window and is populated by water-wise plants—Marta Fry Landscape Associates served as the landscape architect for the project.
Studios and one- and two-bedroom units are organized around the courtyard. Instead of wrapping the courtyard in overhanging single-loaded corridors, which would force living room windows to face onto the walkway as is typical, the architect repositioned the circulation to allow for the units along the north end of the building to be accessed via a pair of bridges that lead to shared-entry landings. Anne Fougeron, principal of Fougeron Architecture, said, “We wanted to put the open space in the middle of the site instead of along one side.”
Units along the southern wing of the building are organized so that one enters into the kitchen from the corridor, with living room spaces located along the southern facade overlooking the street. As a result, almost all of the apartments feature two exterior exposures. Fougeron added that the “facade echoes bay windows in a new way by interlacing their geometries in and out at different cadences” so as to “paginate the building so that it doesn’t read as a five-story building.”
“Finance” usually conjures images of staid blue suits, brass plaques, and hallways lined with nondescript carpet. But when wealth-management firm Cambridge Associates moved from Menlo Park, California, to San Francisco, Amy Callahan, the firm’s managing director of operations, sought out San Francisco–based design studio O+A to “push the limits of a traditional workplace.”
O+A design studio director Mindi Weichman spearheaded the project, helping Cambridge Associates select a stripped-bare circular space with wide-sweeping views of San Francisco. “The footprint was definitely challenging,” she said. “At first, they thought they wanted private offices for all the principals and senior associates, with everyone else in an open space. But the initial planning for this showed that the perimeter would become very inefficient. We suggested workstations with large barriers so that there would be secluded zones and privacy, but no wasted space.”
From there, open desks custom designed by Knoll were provided for the rest of the employees, and other spaces were created for varying levels of privacy—from the self-explanatory conference and quiet rooms, to the library (communal, but not social) and then the kitchen area, which serves as a place to hang out and have informal gatherings.
This design strategy required toeing the line between traditional and modern office typologies. For example, keeping the concrete floors “took a bit of convincing,” Weichman said, but it created a harmonious interplay with more classic components. “[Cambridge Associates] wanted to tell a story of permanence and timelessness—and just as steel and glass serve as symbols for those values in architecture, they also convey cost and quality in the professional world.” Walnut was used extensively throughout, lending old-school warmth to the space, and a limestone wall in the reception area is polished, but not traditional.
While these client-facing areas remain conservative, with a neutral color palette of burgundy, navy, and olive, components such as a sculptural horsehair fixture by Apparatus and tessellated walnut walls in the conference rooms keep things interesting. Local art consultant Laura Grigsby contributed architectural, abstract paintings, and photographs for additional texture and color.
Employee-only areas are more playful. In the kitchen, the ceiling is peeled back to display the building’s infrastructure—just a dash of industrial aesthetic. “They wanted to show that they have an edgy side, but in a more refined way,” said Weichman. “The design is relative to whatever is happening to the space—the kitchen is a casual, louder, and more entertaining space versus the conference room, where things are clean and more buttoned up.” In the hallway, a string of weighted pendulum lights by Roll & Hill also add levity. “They can be moved, but I think the employees are scared to touch them,” laughed Weichman.
Ultimately, O+A presents a fresh approach to the now-ubiquitous open-office model replete with “standard start-up amenities.” Though there is a distinct lack of Ping-Pong tables and kegerators, the main pillars of the modern workplace—flexible seating, natural light, opportunities for socialization and relaxation—are thoughtfully well executed.