Eavesdrop> West Coast Odds and Ends

Eavesdroplet, West
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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SOM's massive Park Merced development in San Francisco. (Courtesy SOM)

SOM’s massive Park Merced development in San Francisco. (Courtesy SOM)

In one of the few towns where the AIA has serious pull, the AIA San Francisco has named Jennifer Jones as its new Executive Director. Longtime HMC principal Kate Diamond has left her position and is looking for a new job. While it pales in comparison to the news that AECOM has merged with URS, forming the biggest firm in the galaxy, WSP has bought “global design giant” Parsons Brinckerhoff for $1.35 billion. That’s no joke either. Finally, after more than six years of waiting, SOM has begun work on its massive redevelopment of the WWII-era housing development, Park Merced. In San Francisco that’s like waiting for fifteen minutes.

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.

Foster + Partners Reveal Initial Renderings for San Francisco Tower

The Foster tower is the third tower on the right. (Courtesy TMG & Foster +Partners)

The Foster tower is the third tower on the right. (Courtesy TMG & Foster + Partners)

The latest playground for big-name architecture is San Francisco’s Transbay District. As AN reported this spring, the city’s forthcoming Transbay Transit Center has spurred new projects from some of the field’s biggest names, including OMA, Studio Gang, Cesar Pelli, and Foster + Partners. Less than two weeks after Studio Gang revealed plans for its twisting tower in the district, Foster + Partners is out with some images of its own. Don’t get too excited—they’re fairly vague—but they were enough for San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King to call Foster’s plan, “gasp-inducing…from the ground up.”

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Unveiled> Jeanne Gang doing the Twist in San Francisco with new skyscraper

Thanks to changes in its bays, Gang's planned San Francisco Tower appears to torque as it rises. (Tishman Speyer)

Thanks to changes in the angeles of its bays, Gang’s planned San Francisco Tower appears to torque as it rises. (Tishman Speyer)

We’ve known for some time that Chicago architect and certified genius Jeanne Gang has been planning a residential tower for San Francisco‘s Transbay District, south of Market Street. Now we know what it will look like. Gang and developer Tishman Speyer have revealed renderings of a 400-foot-tall, 40-story building clad in masonry tiles at 160 Folsom Street.

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.

Moving West: Jonathan Massey To Direct California College of the Art’s Architecture Department

Dean's List, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Thursday, May 29, 2014
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Jonathan Massey (Steve Sartori)

Jonathan Massey. (Steve Sartori)

In the second significant departure this week from the Syracuse University School of Architecture, professor Jonathan Massey has been named the Director of Architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA). Massey, who chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse from 2007 to 2011, succeeds Ila Berman in the position.

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Min | Day Unveiling Transformable Furniture For ICFF

East, Product, West
Friday, May 9, 2014
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Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

Min|Day Stones Collection (Min|Day)

MOD, the newly-created furniture wing from San Francisco architecture firm Min | Day, will be unveiling three new pieces at ICFF next week.  By making use of the human inclinations to rearrange and reconfigure, the pieces grow through a simple geometry of addition and subtraction. All three styles utilize playfulness and improvisation to create topological terrains.  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.

OMA Selected To Design High Rise Tower In San Francisco

Newsletter, West
Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Unofficial rendering of OMA/Fougeron project (San Francisco Chronicle)

Unofficial rendering of OMA/Fougeron project. (Via San Francisco Chronicle)

Despite its collection of near-misses in California (LACMA, The Broad, Universal, etc.), OMA  and Rem Koolhaas keep trying to land a headlining project in the Golden State. And it looks like they’re about to design a high rise in San Francisco to accompany their (currently on hold) winning scheme for a mixed use project in Santa Monica.

San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (the successor to the city’s Community Development Agency) has given the firm initial approval to design a 550-foot-tall residential tower on Folsom Street, between First and Fremont streets, in the city’s Transbay area.

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Jeanne Gang To Design Tower in San Francisco.  Jeanne Gang To Design Tower in San Francisco Chicago architect Jeanne Gang (pictured) isn’t just preparing to design new towers in Chicago and (perhaps) New York. According to her office, Gang has been hired by Tishman Speyer to design a high rise tower in San Francisco‘s Transbay district. The building’s site (and, likewise a design) has not yet been revealed, but according to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s near the now-rising Transbay Center. According to the Chronicle, Tishman is also developing the Lumina and Infinity towers in the area by Arquitectonica, and a 26-story office tower by Gensler and Thomas Phifer. (Photo: Courtesy Studio Gang Architects)

 

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

Ten Roads Whose Time Has Come: Congress for the New Urbanism Releases List of Freeways Ripe for Removal

highways_to_boulevards_2

Detroit's I-375 made the list.

Detroit’s I-375 made the list. (gab482/flickr)

The Congress for the New Urbanism has released their annual list of Freeways Without Futures. The organization selected the top 10 urban American (and one Canadian) highways most in need of removal. The final list was culled from nominations from more than 50 cities. Criteria for inclusion included age of the freeway, the potential that removal would have to positively effect the areas where the roadways are currently situated, and the amount of momentum to realize such removals. Additionally the CNU highlighted campaigns in Dallas, the Bronx, Pasadena, Buffalo, and Niagra Falls, that are taking significant steps towards removing freeways (some of which have been included in past lists) as illustrations of broader institutional and political shifts on urban infrastructural thinking.

The dubious list after the jump.

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