Remembering Doug Wright, the man who helped tear down highways in San Francisco and Portland

Destruction of the Embarcadero Freeway (SF Chronicle)

Destruction of the Embarcadero Freeway (SF Chronicle)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ai Weiwei to exhibit at Alcatraz Island this September

Art, On View, West
Friday, June 20, 2014
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The first floor of the New Industries Building on Alcatraz Island. (Jan Stürmann/For-Site Foundation)

The first floor of the New Industries Building on Alcatraz Island. (Jan Stürmann/For-Site Foundation)

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.

More information after the jump.

Seattle Aquarium Expansion Moving Forward

West
Monday, April 28, 2014
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The Seattle Aquarium (by Richard Eriksson via Flickr)

The Seattle Aquarium (Richard Eriksson via Flickr)

Although Seattle‘s Big Bertha—the giant tunnel boring machine powering the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel alongside Seattle’s waterfront—will be delayed until next March for repairs, the nearby Seattle Aquarium is moving steadily ahead with its plans for a major expansion. Read More

Apple to build a new transportation center and increase shuttle service

Apple logo via Flickr by Incase

Apple logo (Flickr by Incase)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Portland competition asks designers to cap an urban interstate with an “urban living room”

AIA Portland ideas competition - STITCH (AIA Portland)

AIA Portland ideas competition – STITCH (AIA Portland)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Seattle’s Urban Gondola Could Handle the Equivalent of 150 Packed Buses a Day

West
Monday, March 31, 2014
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The proposed Union Street Aerial Gondola Project in downtown Seattle (Via Architecture)

The proposed Union Street Aerial Gondola Project in downtown Seattle (VIA Architecture)

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.

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BridgeHOUSE Reusing Steel From Old Bay Bridge

Newsletter, Sustainability, West
Friday, February 28, 2014
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A rendering of the Bay Bridge House.

A rendering of the Bay Bridge House. (Baybridgehouse.org)

Since the east span of the Bay Bridge opened in the fall of 2013, demolition crews have been busy deconstructing the old–taking down over 50,000 tons of steel. While most of the steel will be sent to China as scrap, one Bay Area entrepreneur, David Grieshaber, wants to save a portion to create a mixed-use building, housing a museum, a private apartment, and an Airbnb rental. The Airbnb fees would, hypothetically, keep the non-profit undertaking running.  Read More

What stopped earth’s biggest-diameter tunnel boring drill?

Transportation, West
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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The south end of the tunnel. (WSDOT; Flickr.)

The south end of the tunnel. (WSDOT; Flickr.)

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?

The answer after the jump.

No Winning Proposal Yet for Mid-Crissy Field in San Francisco

West
Monday, December 2, 2013
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Image: Crissy Field (Flickr; Wei Jie Lee)

Image Credit: Crissy Field (Wei Jie Lee; Flickr)

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.

Read More

Gensler, LOT-EK Design Google’s San Francisco Barge With Sails, Shipping Containers

West
Friday, November 15, 2013
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A rendering of the Google barge (By and Large, LLC).

A rendering of the Google barge (By and Large, LLC).

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.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Amazon’s Crazy Seattle Biodomes Get the Go-Ahead

West
Monday, November 4, 2013
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A night rendering of the Amazon biodomes (NBBJ).

A night rendering of the Amazon biodomes (NBBJ).

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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New homes in Palo Alto will need wiring for charging electric cars.  New homes in Palo Alto will need wiring for charging electric cars In Palo Alto, California, the city council recently approved a proposal (9-0) to alter the city’s building code, requiring new homes to install wiring for electric car charging stations. Pre-wiring for the 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations costs about $200, while many homes in the city sell for over $1 million. The proposal would also make it easier for homeowners to get permits to retrofit their homes for the charging stations. (Photo: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr) Read the full post

 

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