31 October 2013

Image of the Week: Constructioning on Valencia

Where: 20th Street at Valencia Street, San Francisco, California, USA
When: October 2013
What: Construction of new housing on the former site of a gas station.
Comment: Underground parking requires a big whole. Nice to see that the gas station cleanup here didn't take so long. Based on the architecture rendering, a soup "kitchen" is an idea for one of the retail spaces.
Related Posts: From Haz Site to Condo Site

30 October 2013

If You Make an Grandiose Plan in SF, They Will Come...

...the architect and urbanist community will come look at your drawings and models.

Rarely do art shows, let alone urban design shows, come together with multiple locations. The Unbuilt San Francisco: The View from Futures Past is an ambitious show about San Francisco projects that never came to fruition. Hosted by five organizations in five locations, the show is a bold collaboration between the California Historical Society (CHS), San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), San Francisco Public Library, American Institute of Architects San Francisco (AIA-SF), and the Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkeley.
Repurposing the old west span of the Bay Bridge into a modern park and promenade. Location: San Francisco AIA
I attended the very busy and festive opening night on September 6, 2013 at the CHS and SPUR.

Since then I have sought to visit all five sights and have already visited the show at the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Architects Institutes Association. With only the UC Berkeley part to see, I'm quite impressed that the organizers have pulled all of these archival proposals that never were together in this grand show.

The big question this show asks, in my mind, is:

Why did these projects not come to be, while others have been built?
Is there a theme running through what doesn't get built and a different one about projects that are built?

Note that the exhibit is showing for different lengths of time at each venue. The AIA San Francisco exhibit just ended last Friday, and the UC Berkeley show ends the end of next week, so don't miss it before it's all taken down and placed back in library archives. See locations and dates at the end of the post.

Below are some highlights of the show.

Marin's Marincello
A proposed 1960s development plan for the Marin Headlands including Rodeo Valley. The lagoon in the image below is Rodeo Lagoon. Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this development was initially to have many mid-rise buildings, but was scaled back with a more suburban scale, and then finally dropped due to local opposition.
Model of Marincello Development proposal. Location: CHS
Map of  location of Marincello Development. Image: Wikipedia.org

San Francisco Ferry Building
Ever since the Bay Bridge was built, drastically reducing the need for ferries, the San Francisco Ferry Building has seen a plan for its redevelopment virtually every ten years.

Below, the 1951 World Trade Center proposal eliminated the historic Ferry Building and replaced it with an office tower with a big clock looking down Market Street. Note the very popular grand open plazas of the 1950s and 60s.
1951, The World Trade Center Proposal. Location: CHS
The 1961 San Francisco Downtown Plan proposed to keep the Ferry Building clock tower, shear off its wings and replace them with two tall office towers.
1963 Downtown Plan proposal. Image: sfgate.com. Location: CHS

25 October 2013

Skaters and Dogs: together at last

Getting something built in San Francisco takes a long time. A very long time. Whether it's a boulevard replacing a freeway, a new Bay Bridge, or a housing development, it all takes way longer than it seems it should. Now we're getting a skate park, yes a skate park, ten years after it was originally proposed. Getting a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation helped kick it into reality, even if it was only a fraction of the construction cost.

Skate park conceptual Design. Image DPW
The SoMa West Skate and Dog Park is finally under construction! Construction began on October 21 (four days ago). Located underneath the Central Freeway, at the corner of Mission St, Otis Street and Duboce, the skate park has been under development for at least ten years when the Central Freeway was demolished and rebuilt between Mission St and Market St.
Image: 710 Study
Image: Uptown Almanac
The skate park designed by New Line Skateparks will be located between Otis/Mission and Stevenson, running along Duboce, forming a triangular shape as shown in the image. The skating community come together to really push for this much needed skate parking located near the center of this great skating city.

More images of the skate park and analysis after the break.

22 October 2013

Image of the Week: The Horseshoe

Where: Twin Peaks Boulevard from Christmas Tree Point Road, San Francisco, California, USA
When: October 2013
What: The famous hairpin bend known as "The Horseshoe" on Twin Peaks Blvd heading north to Tank Hill and Cole Valley.
Comment: Rarely have I ever walked this far along the viewpoint on Twin Peaks. Glad I did to catch this view which has a great angle on the hairpin turn that's featured in many tv commercials, especially car commercials.
Related Posts: San Francisco Topography, To Be Tall or To Be Prominent...

09 October 2013

Image of the Week: 22nd Sutro

Where: 22nd Street at Mission Street, Mission District, San Francisco, California, USA
When: October 2013
What: Sutro Tower, Christmas Tree Point, homes on Liberty Hill and 22nd Street.
Comment: Apparently Sutro Tower has three legs to help give it more support during a major earthquake, similar to why the Transamerica Pyramid shape makes it more stable during a quake.
Related Posts: To Be Tall or To Be Prominent, San Francisco Topography