The common wisdom is that all the new development, or at least all the interesting development in San Francisco, is South of Market. This of course makes news because it represents a sea change from the prior 100+ years when “south of the slot” was the industrial, working class (or worse) sector of the city.Continue Reading Where grows San Francisco?
Ever since the removal of the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway after the Loma Prieta earthquake and its replacement with a graceful boulevard, high quality development has been replacing empty piers and parking lots along San Francisco’s northern waterfront.
Think the Ferry Building, Pier 1, Piers 1½, 3 and 5 (Coqueta, La Mar Cebicheria, Hard Water), the Exploratorium, and the new Cruise Terminal to mention a few. Fisherman’s Wharf has a going Community Benefits District, a brilliant streetscape plan, and some quality new buildings housing such uses as the flagship Boudin bakery/restaurant and a new Madame Tussauds.
For years, it has all fallen apart when one hits Van Ness. But a brilliant new plan for the non-profit Fort Mason Center is about to change all that.Continue Reading Completing San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront
Many of us, at least architects and urbanists in the Bay Area, are familiar with Here Today: San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage, the venerable 1968 compendium of San Francisco buildings built before 1920.
The roster of fine books on historic architecture has recently been joined by a new volume, Here Tomorrow: preserving Architecture, Culture, and California’s Golden Dreams, by veteran San Francisco Business Times columnist J. K. Dineen. Continue Reading Here Tomorrow… telling our stories
As architects and urban designers, we all devote considerable thought and effort into designing public and semi-public spaces that will be a joy to use, by client and public alike. Going back to William Holly Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces in 1980, Continue Reading Managing our Public Spaces
I find it hard to eke out the time to write for UrbDeZine I am so busy with those pesky paying clients. As anyone who looks around or reads the trade press can tell you, the development economy is San Francisco is very good indeed. However, as we all know, capitalism is by its very nature boom and bust, and especially so in Francisco, ever since its founding in the 1849 Gold Rush. And as we also know, the San Francisco electorate is notoriously nervous about changes to the physical fabric of the city. It was this latter phenomena that gave us a serious jolt on November 5.Continue Reading Tale of two cities implodes on 8 Washington
In this beautifully designed addition to the Princeton Architectural Press’s Architecture Briefs series, San Francisco architect-engineer Charles Bloszies provides clear thinking and non-dogmatic analysis on the intersection of historic preservation and progressive architectural design. Continue Reading Old Buildings, New Designs: Architectural Transformations
San Francisco is privileged to have a number of excellent architectural guides – ones by Sally Woodbridge, Mitchell Schwarzer, David Gebhard, and Richard Saul Wurman come immediately to mind, and all excellent in their own rights. These are joined by monographs and topical architectural analyses galore – plus Vision of a Place, the SPUR book I participated in that analyzes the DNA of San Francisco and the logic of the San Francisco General plan.Continue Reading Touchstones of Reference and Recall
It has oft been said that San Francisco has some of the best architects in the world but that their best work is elsewhere. I think that tends to be true. As a City, we have empowered virtually any single person to stop anything.Continue Reading A Few Thoughts on the State of Architecture in San Francisco Today