The chance to reimagine a four-and-a-half-acre site containing both historic buildings to be preserved and lots slated for development in a major American city is rare. For the team behind 5M, a project on a nodal site in downtown San Francisco, this prospect came with exciting potential to engage with all aspects of community building and place making. Completed by SITELAB, KPF, and a host of other firms, 5M reveals a transformed, multi-use downtown site following a decade-long process.
San Francisco: The Latest Architecture and News
Presidio Tunnel Tops is San Francisco’s upcoming national park destination, set to welcome visitors starting July 17th. The project reconnects the park formerly split in two by the Doyle Drive by creating new landscaped land over the highway now moved underground. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the firm behind New York’s High Line, the project brings 5.6 hectares (14 acres) of new parkland to the Bay Area, featuring trails, picnic areas, and scenic views over the city as well as a nature play area for kids.
The Transamerica Pyramid, a landmark in the skyline of San Francisco, is undergoing a revitalization project led by Foster + Partners and luxury real estate developers SHVO. Built in 1972, the 48-story Brutalist-style project was designed by American architect William Pereira, and was the tallest building in San Francisco for nearly half a century. The renovation will be the largest in the building’s 50-year history, will also see the expansion and upgrade of the adjacent Three Transamerica (545 Sansome).
For centuries and centuries we’ve built – and the diversity in our global built environment is a testament to that. The many different cultures around the globe have had different ways of building throughout history, adapting locally found materials to construct their structures. Today, in our globalized present, building materials are transported across the globe far from their origins, a situation that means two buildings on completely opposites sides of the world can be more or less identical.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In April 1782, just six years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams arrived in Amsterdam as the first U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands. Three months later, a consortium of Dutch bankers provided a 5 million guilder loan (equivalent to $150 billion today) to the new republic, a clear sign of my country’s confidence in the U.S. While I can’t provide a loan, as a Dutch water engineer I can offer something else to Americans: my country’s five centuries of experience living, working, and thriving below sea level. This is surely knowledge and knowhow that the U.S. will desperately need as water levels continue to rise and countless coastal communities are threatened.
Over the past year, established practices have continued to champion the transformation of existing structures, with adaptive reuse and renovations increasingly becoming a defining aspect of contemporary architecture From the renovation of landmark structures to the adaptive reuse of obsolete facilities, the idea of giving new life to existing buildings has been embraced as the premise for a more sustainable practice, but also as a means of reinforcing the urban and cultural identity of cities. Discover 8 designs and recently completed projects that showcase a new common practice of reusing existing building stock.
On a clear fall day in 2005, a group of friends and collaborators from the art collective Rebar commandeered an 8-foot-wide by 20-foot-long metered parking space in downtown San Francisco. This two-hour guerilla art installation evolved into Park(ing) Day, a global public art and design activism event that has been celebrated every year since. In 2009, Rebar and other design studios were approached by the City of San Francisco to prototype a more permanent version of Park(ing) Day. In response, we created one of the world’s first parklets in San Francisco (we called our version walklet), and through the diligent efforts of Andres Power in the Mayor’s Office and City Planning, San Francisco’s pioneering parklet program was born.
As architects face up to the need for ethical, sustainable design in the age of climate change awareness, timber architecture is making a comeback in a new, technologically impressive way. Largely overlooked in the age of Modernism, recent years have seen a plethora of advancements related to mass timber across the world. This year alone, Japan announced plans for a supertall wooden skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, while the European continent has seen plans for the world’s largest timber building in the Netherlands, and the world’s tallest timber tower in Norway.
The potential for mass timber to become the dominant material of future sustainable cities has also gained traction in the United States throughout 2018. Evolving codes and the increasing availability of mass timber is inspiring firms, universities, and state legislators to research and invest in ambitious projects across the country.
The world-renowned academic medical centre The University of California San Francisco has selected Snohetta and HGA to design the new Parnassus Research and Academic Building (PRAB). As part of a larger plan to renovate and expand the medical campus, the project will replace the 1917 UC Hall, creating a more collaborative research environment while also providing the city of San Francisco with an attractive public space.