Journey to the Center of the Bay Bridge

West
Thursday, July 1, 2010
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Access to the inside of the new Bay Bridge skyway is via catwalks suspended over the water.

Action-movie directors: Consider shooting your next film in the innards of one of the biggest projects going up in the Bay Area: the new, $6 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge.  There’s the evident glamour of a self-anchored suspension bridge–the Calatrava-esque part with the tower and cables holding everything up, which is still yet to be built. But already in place is the 1.2-mile  “skyway” portion, and inside the concrete monolith are whole rooms, including an electrical substation, and a tunnel that runs the length of the skyway.  Only maintenance crews are typically allowed in this secret warren, but a media tour led by a Caltrans representative provided a close-up of some of its more unusual features. Read More

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SFMOMA Architects: Meet the Public

West
Friday, June 25, 2010
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On Wednesday, SFMOMA held a press preview of its new exhibit, “Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection,” which takes up the top two floors and features whole entire rooms of Calders, Ellsworth Kellys, Chuck Closes, Agnes Martins—a smorgasboard of modern masters, each a few steps from the next. Downstairs in the main lobby, however, there was the opportunity to get to know a different group of artists—the four candidates that are up for the job of designing the SFMOMA’s new extension. Read More

SFMOMA Extension: Channeling Your Inner Maya Lin

West
Saturday, May 8, 2010
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CCA student Annie Aldrich envisions a mysteriously enticing Howard St. entrance.

On Tuesday, SFMOMA will reveal the final contenders for the city’s most prestigious project of the moment, the extension of its 1995 Mario Botta building.  But imagine an alternate universe, where an open competition would invite a broad range of concepts from established firms and fresh talent alike. This parallel world could be experienced a couple of weeks ago, during a final review for an architecture class at CCA. Read More

Salesmanship, Snohetta-Style

West
Thursday, May 6, 2010
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An opera house, or a site for extreme sports?

Just by looking at the mind-boggling New Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, an architectural cliff on the edge of a fjord, you might think there’d be a lot of dense archibabble floating around at the firm Snøhetta.  We have been paying closer attention to them out here in San Francisco, after hearing rumors that they are in the running for the SFMOMA extension in partnership with locals EHDD. Read More

The Oil Spill Next Door

National
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
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At the rate of 5,000 barrels per day, it would take two days to create a Victorian-sized oil spill.

When trying to wrap his brain around the quantities of oil oozing into the Gulf, Hulett Jones of the San Francisco firm Jones Haydu reacted like an architect: He went to SketchUp and did some modeling. Haydu then extracted his ideas to a nifty YouTube video that comes to the clever conclusion that  One Victorian = 2 days of leakage. Wouldn’t it be great if news stories provided this sort of concrete analog for their data points? Edward Tufte would be proud. You can watch the video after the jump. Read More

AIA SF Marin Home Tours: Sneak Preview

West
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
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In the 1960 home designed by Daniel Liebermann and renovated by Vivian Dwyer, time stands still.

This year the AIA SF is debuting a second home tour, up in Marin,  in addition to its popular home tour in San Francisco happening later on in September. Smart move: there’s some great architecture going on in this area just north of the city–the area is so close, yet a world away. Freed from the strictures of squeezing in between row houses, and surrounded by bucolic landscapes and bay views, architects have come up with some lovely examples of contemporary living.

The one-day tour on May 15 offers a look at five homes. But the one that is a definite “can’t miss” is architect Daniel Liebermann’s first home, which he built in 1960.   Read More

Berkeley Art Museum: Yet More Contenders

West
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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The future home of the Berkeley Art Museum. Courtesy Google Maps

Update (4/21/10): Three more firms have been confirmed: Snohetta, Rafael Viñoly, and L.A.’s Frederick Fisher. This is shaping up to be a pretty diverse crew.

The SF Chronicle reports that the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive has sent out letters to ten architecture firms, asking them to submit qualifications to design their new home.  Adding to the three that have already been sussed out (Bernard Tschumi, Tod Williams Billie Tsien, and Will Bruder), we have confirmed a fourth: Ann Beha, whose Currier Museum of Art in New Hampshire has been well-received. Read More

Brits Get Chummy in San Francisco

West
Monday, April 19, 2010
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RIBA launches chapter in San Francisco.

After the way Sir Norman Foster was ousted from a project  in San Francisco recently, we wondered whether there would be some mutterings at the kick-off party for the new chapter of the Royal Institute of British Architects (which is the sixth US chapter–there is also one in L.A.).   Read More

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The SFMOMA Shortlist: We Can Dream

West
Friday, March 19, 2010
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IwamotoScott has done installations inside buildings, like Voussoir Cloud, pictured. What if they did the actual building?

The upcoming $480 million SFMOMA expansion is a big deal, and the names that have been bruited about are certainly Big Names. But you can also hear the rumblings: Why no local firms? And especially why so few women in the mix?

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SFMOMA Searches for a Wingman

West
Friday, February 5, 2010
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SFMOMA reflects on its future. Photo by David Paul Ohmer/Flickr

The Examiner’s George Calys reports that SFMOMA is narrowing down a list of international architects to design its new 100,000 square-foot wing. The shortlisted firms will be asked to submit proposals. Asked who was on the list, museum director Neal Benezra said diplomatically, “Right now, all of them.” Read More

Homes for Haiti

West
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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House Arc, a modular house designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. Courtesy Joseph Bellomo

Bay Area architect Joseph Bellomo was putting the finishing touches on one of his side projects, a modular studio for a client in Hawaii, when he heard about the earthquake.  Because of the nature of the structure, which had been designed specifically for a tropical climate, he couldn’t help but think that it might be a good option for those made homeless by the devastation. Read More

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Big Orange Blob

West
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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The "foothills" of the site-specific installation created by architect Thom Faulders.

Why don’t more contemporary art museums commission works from architects? Those big open galleries could be so much more fun to explore.  The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives‘ executive director, Larry Rinder (someone who is fast becoming adept at making the most of a space) had the brilliant idea of asking Thom Faulders to come up with an “internal landscape” for the museum’s 7,000-square-foot atrium. Read More

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