4 Ways Cold-Climate Cities Can Make The Most Of Their Waterfronts

Chaudière Island project in Ottawa. Image © Chris Foyd courtesy of Perkins+Will

Urban waterfronts have historically been the center of activity for many cities. They began as economic, and manufacturing hubs, but as most industries changed their shipping patterns and consolidated port facilities, many industrial waterfronts became obsolete. In Europe, smaller historic ports were easily converted to be reused for leisure activities. However, in North America, where the ports were larger, it was more difficult to convert the waterfronts due to logistical and contamination issues.

Over the past 40 years or so, architects and urban planners have started to recognize the redevelopment potential for waterfronts across the United States and Canada, and the impact they can have on the financial and social success of cities. Though cold-climate cities pose a unique challenge for waterfront development, with effective planning waterfront cities with freezing winter months can still take advantage of the spaces year-round.

Container House / José Schreiber Arquitecto

© Ramiro Sosa

Architects: José Schreiber Arquitecto
Location: San Francisco, Cordoba,
Area: 195.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Ramiro Sosa

Brick House / Christi Azevedo

© Cesar Rubio

Architects: Christi Azevedo
Location: , CA, USA
Area: 15.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Cesar Rubio

Linear House / Roberto Benito

© Gonzalo Viramonte

Architects: Roberto Benito
Location: San Francisco, Cordoba,
Interiors: Nancy Silvestro
Project Area: 277.0 m2
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Gonzalo Viramonte

Suburban Dwelling / Roberto Benito

© Gonzalo Viramonte

Architects: Roberto Benito
Location: , Cordoba, Argentina
Project Area: 295.0 m2
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Gonzalo Viramonte

George Lucas Unveils Plan for Bay Area’s Largest Affordable Housing Project

Marin County Headlands. Image © Flickr CC User Franco Folini

What some believe to be an act of revenge, George Lucas has unveiled plans to build the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest affordable housing project in the wealthy community of Marin County. As CBS reports, the news comes just three years after valley residents shot down Lucas’ proposal to develop the land with a 265,000-square-foot production studio. The new plan aims to provide veterans, firefighters, teachers and other service-oriented working class people with 224 low-income homes.

“We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people,” said Lucas, according to his lawyer Gary Giacomini who also ensured that the plan was “not a form of retaliation.”

Vincent Laforet Captures San Francisco From Above

© Vincent Laforet

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet has made his way to San Francisco as part three of his dizzying series of city aerials. Capturing the tightly packed metropolis from 7,200-feet, Laforet became mesmerized by the city’s “clashing grids,” stunning bridges and overwhelming feeling of “peace and order.”

“There’s just something about this city’s vibe – a perfect balance between the hectic go-getter pace of New York and the more relaxed, laissez-faire rhythm of ,” says Laforet. “It feels like every little piece of the puzzle has somehow found its place in what is an absolutely chaotic topography.”

See a selection of Laforet’s series, after the break. 

SteelHouse 1 and 2 / Zack | de Vito Architecture

© Bruce Damonte

Architects: Zack | de Vito Architecture
Location: , CA, USA
Architects In Charge: Jim Zack, Lise de Vito
Year: 2014
Photographs: Bruce Damonte, Paul Dyer

300 Ivy Street / David Baker Architects

© Bruce Damonte

Architects: David Baker Architects
Location: 300 Ivy Street, , CA 94102, USA
Year: 2014
Photographs: Bruce Damonte

The Nature Conservancy HQ / MKThink

© Cesar Rubio

Architects: MKThink
Location: , CA, USA
Project Mangement: Studley
Contractor: GCI
Area: 16200.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Cesar Rubio

California Breaks Ground on America’s First High Speed Rail

Proposed Statewide Alignment Map. Image Courtesy of Rail LA

California has broke ground on America’s first line in Fresno, six years after voters first approved an almost $10 billion bond act to fund the project. However, along with celebrations comes skepticism; according to an NPR report, fears of the project’s failure have risen due to the rail line only having a fifth of its funding and that its nearly three-hour journey will still take longer than a flight connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco. Despite this, supporters are optimistic that the line will be up and running by 2030. The state will be relying on private investment and revenue from the state’s greenhouse-gas fees to secure the remaining $55 billion needed to complete the $68 billion project.

North Beach Branch Library / LMS Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Location: North Beach, , CA, USA
Area: 8500.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of LMS Architects

Laguna Street Residence / Michael Hennessey Architecture

© Joe Fletcher

Architects: Michael Hennessey Architecture
Location: , CA, USA
Area: 4370.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Joe Fletcher

Square Headquarters / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

© Matthew Millman

Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Location: , CA, USA
Design Principal: Gregory R. Mottola, AIA
Project Manager: Christopher Orsega, AIA
Area: 173450.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Matthew Millman

SFMOMA Tops Out

© Henrik Kam

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has topped out its Snøhetta-designed extension, marking the halfway point in the museum’s transformation. Rising behind ’s existing Mario Botta-designed building, the 10-story addition will add more than triple the amount of gallery space, 130,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor galleries, flexible performance art spaces and a dramatically expanded education program for students and teachers upon completion in 2016.

More images after the break…

VARA / Studio O+A

© Jasper Sanidad

Architects: Studio O+A
Location: 1880 Mission Street, , CA 94103, USA
Design Team: Primo Orpilla, Denise Cherry, Perry Stephney, Clem Soga, Jeorge Jordan, Will Chu, Alma Lopez, Caren Currie, Olivia Ward, Justin Ackerman, Al McKee
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jasper Sanidad

Capital One Lab / Studio O+A

© Jasper Sanidad

Architects: Studio O+A
Location: , CA, USA
Project Team: Primo Orpilla, Denise Cherry, Verda Alexander, Perry Stephney, Clem Soga, Chris Lindes, Oren Aks, Alma Lopez, Kroeun Dav, Alfred Socias, Justin Ackerman, Sarah Dziuba, Chase Lunt, Jeorge Jordan, Elizabeth Guerrero, Holly Hursley
Area: 3500.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jasper Sanidad

New Images Released of Foster + Partners’ “First and Mission” Towers in San Francisco

This rendering shows the “First and Mission” towers to the right of the taller Salesforce tower, which is currently under construction. Image Courtesy of

New images have been released of Foster + Partners’ and Heller Manus Architects’ design for  “First and Mission,” a two tower, two million square foot mixed-use development project in downtown .

The project consists of a 605-foot condominium tower — the tallest residential project on the West Coast — and an 850-foot hotel, residential and office tower. Together the two towers will add more than a million square feet of flexible office and commercial space, as well as 650,000 square feet of residential units to the Transbay Area.

View more images and learn more about the design of the “First and Mission” project after the break…