San Francisco’s North Beach library, which AN reported on today is finally under construction after more than two years of delays, is the last of more than 20 city library branches to be repaired or rebuilt thanks to a $105 million bond measure that SF voters passed in 2000 called the Branch Library Improvement Program (with the unfortunate acronym, BLIP). The measure has spurred innovation from several of the city’s top firms, and we couldn’t resist sharing more of their work in the slideshow below. Only two remain: North Beach and the Bayview Branch Library, designed by THA Architecture in collaboration with Karin Payson A+D, which is scheduled to open later this month. Find a full list of library projects here.
There’s a new couture addition to PROXY, the temporary shipping container village in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, designed by architects Envelope A+D. Adding to PROXY’s cool coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and Biergarten is a new store for clothing company Aether, made up of three forty foot shipping containers stacked atop one another, supported by steel columns. The guts of the first two containers have been carved out, making a double story retail space, with a glass mezzanine above jutting to the side, providing display space and views. A third container for inventory storage is accessible via a custom-designed drycleaners’ conveyor belt spanning all three floors. Workers can literally load garments from the ground floor and send them up to the top.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has seen some success in his time in office. But one element still remains a thorn in his side: MUNI, the city’s transit agency. In his State of the City address the other day (watch full speech below) Lee vowed to improve the notoriously late and overcrowded system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. “We need to modernize our system…to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work, and shop,” said Lee.
A few remedies that Lee has suggested: the formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the system and dealing with the city’s growing population; expansion of BART, the Bay Area’s regional transit system; new work rule reforms; and a bevy of new technologies. “Truly great cities have great transportation systems—Paris, New York, London, Tokyo,” Lee said. “I say San Francisco is pretty great, too, and deserves one as well.” The city is in fact adding a new transit line, the downtown T-Central, to help alleviate congestion problems. It’s slated to open in 2019. Check out images of the city’s upcoming line below.
Visit Greenbuild, the world’s biggest green design conference taking place this year in San Francisco, for a chance to win an iPad Mini and a $250 AMEX gift card thanks to The Architect’s Newspaper, Buro Happold, YKK AP America, Greenscreen, Monodraught, and Firestone Building Products. Hit up the GRAPSHISOFT, YKK AP, Firestone, and Greenscreen booths to collect a postcard to be stamped by each of the four companies. Be sure to fill out your contact information on the postcard. Your postcard will be entered in a lottery and AN will select a winner the week of November 19th. See you at Greenbuild!
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.
Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”