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.
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.
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.
Los Angeles isn’t the only city exploring freeway caps. In effort to bring more green space to the west side of the City of Roses, the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a competition, STITCH. They are calling designers to submit their ideas for capping a portion of I-405 between downtown and the city’s Goose Hollow neighborhood.
Seattle’s monorail was unveiled in 1962 and it now carries 7,000 passengers per day on a one-mile track between the Space Needle just north of downtown and the center of the city. While plans were first proposed in 1997 to extend the monorail, they were scratched. But now another way to travel and see Seattle from the sky is being offered by Kyle Griffith, the owner and developer of the Seattle Great Wheel (that rests on Pier 57 on the waterfront): an urban gondola. Cities like Rio de Janeiro and Singapore have installed gondolas to great success, providing a more exciting way to commute and an unusual way to view the urban landscape below.
It was early December in Seattle when the world’s biggest-diameter tunnel boring machine, called Bertha, came to a stop underneath Seattle. It was plowing through the city’s underground as part of the two-mile project to bring SR 99 underground and replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Overnight, it seemed as if the whole of Seattle and beyond was curious: was it buried treasure from the gold rush days? Or bootlegger artifacts?
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 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.”
Seattle’s design review board has unanimously approved the three biodome scheme for the NBBJ-designed Amazon headquarters. The five-story building will include flexible brainstorming and work areas filled with plants and trees, while the ground level will include retail space and public viewing spots. Planned for the block is also an Amazon office tower of up to 38 stories, as well as a neighboring public park that will include a dog run area.