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View Poll Results: Which transbay tower design scheme do you like best?
#1 Richard Rogers 39 7.89%
#2 Cesar Pelli 98 19.84%
#3 SOM 357 72.27%
Voters: 494. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1561  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2007, 5:26 PM
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According to that link, it looks like they've pushed back opening the temporary terminal by one month, but we're still looking at fall and winter 2009 for demo of the old terminal. Assuming I don't change jobs, I'll have an intimate view of that, by the way, as I work right next door.

If everything goes according to plan, we'll then see construction of the new terminal and the tower begin in Spring 2010. Sounds a long way off, but it will be here before we know it!
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  #1562  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2007, 9:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryBarbierSRPD View Post
OK SF politics experts, do we know if there is an actual date when raising the height limits around Transbay will be voted on, and if so, when is it?

Has there even been a proposition (or whatever it would be) written yet to do so?
You don't need propositions to amend the zoning. The request to up zone is being reviewed in the planning department and will be carried forward for consideration sometime in the first quarter of 2008 and allowing for public comment it should be approved by end of June 2008.
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  #1563  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2007, 3:45 AM
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That was my recollection too but I read through the Planning Dept. web site and the public meetings or attention at the Planning Commission seem too far in the future to get mentioned yet. But that appears to just mean it's more than a month or two so I agree with you--from what we know I believe the timeline is for approval of the new zoning/height limits next summer. I'd expect an appeal to the Board of Supervisors and/or even a court challenge, though. I don't think the Hestor crowd is going to let this happen without a fight.
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  #1564  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2008, 8:52 PM
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This Comment section article in the Architects Newspaper pretty much reflects my reaction to Hines' new tower proposal of similar height in New York (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=133753).

From the Architects Newspaper -- 01 01.30.2008
http://www.archpaper.com/this_issue_CA.htm

Quote:
I winced when I saw the Times’ headline, “Next to MoMA, Reaching for the Stars.” Jean Nouvel’s new 75 story tower alongside the Museum of Modern Art reached back to Lyonel Feininger for inspiration, finally realizing his vision of an expressionist tower. It’s hard to imagine a stronger contrast to Cesar Pelli’s safely office like MoMA housing or Yoshio Taniguchi’s recent, buttoned- down expansion. “To its credit, the Modern pressed for a talented architect,” Times’ critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote, but he goes on to praise Hines, the tower’s “remarkably astute” developer. “Hines asked Nouvel to come up with two possible designs... and made the bolder choice.” That’s Hines in New York.

This fall, Hines also won the right to develop the Transbay Tower in downtown San Francisco. Pelli’s proposal for the transit hub component of the project is well done, but the tower is a version of his International Financial Center mega-tower in Hong Kong. As usual for Hines— they really are “remarkably astute” Pelli was a smart choice. The Airport Express station that serves Hong Kong’s financial district anchors the twin-tower IFC complex. From a credentials standpoint, that’s valuable experience. Plus a tower that’s up and-running is easier to price, even with differences in construction, than one-offs like Richard Rogers and SOM’s competing finalists. Armed with that knowledge, Hines played its trump card, offering up to $350 million for the land—more than twice what the other two developers were prepared to pay. That’s Hines in San Francisco.

Hines is Hines—the same smart operators, east and west. Given what they’re proposing for New York, blame for San Francisco’s less-than stellar tower falls somewhere else.

Jokingly called Dean Macris’ last erection, the Transbay Tower benefited from the recently departed planning czar’s determination to fulfill his long time vision of a city skyline marked by three accentuated “hills” two real and one manmade. This is the same vision that gave us One Rincon Hill, the first in a two-tower wonder by Chicago’s Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Compared to it, Pelli’s proposal is definite progress.

A lot of people have questioned the logic of Macris’ idée fixe, but that’s another article. The question here is how a competition that was advertised as being all about design proved to be all about money. Not that this is surprising, but in light of promises made—it feels like a bait and switch. And if I feel this way, imagine how SOM feels!

I wasn’t privy to the jury’s deliberations, but a few things stuck out along the way. In the initial interviews, Norman Foster failed to appear and his team was eliminated. While architect no shows are a standard mo. (and conform to Woody Allen’s maxim that “85 percent of life is showing up”), their reaction struck me as a surefire sign of provinciality. Another sign of that was the dearth of interesting architects in the mix.

Again, I didn’t make the rules, but at roughly the same time that the Transbay schemes were being unveiled, Thom Mayne won a competition for a new tower at La Defense in Paris that clearly breaks new ground. This was another reason to wince, since a second major work by Mayne might finally put San Francisco on the architectural map.

Of course, Calatrava made the cut, only to have a falling out with his developer. Perhaps he was chosen, like Icarus, to exemplify the dangers of the creative edge. That left SOM, whose tower—while drawing on a Chinese precedent—alone showed the originality that the competition promised. With its blend of structure and sustainability, it presented a credible future for tall buildings in the earthquake prone west coast. Plus, it was new, and that seemed to be what was wanted. (Unlike SOM’s, Richard Rogers’ peculiar tower was a throwback to his high tech, frame-and infill days, but vastly toned down with no real gain in use value, especially as office space.) SOM’s tower fit the bill, if the object had been to build a tower in San Francisco that broke the mold. In retrospect, no such luck.

The Transbay Tower reminds me of the new east span of the Bay Bridge, a chance squandered to do something on a par with the Golden Gate. San Francisco rises to its own occasions with about the same frequency as its earthquakes—maybe less frequently. In that sense, there’s no real mystery about the latest outcome. Still, it makes me wince.

JOHN PARMAN WRITES FOR
SAN FRANCISCO’S LINE
(WWW.LINEMAG.ORG) AND URBANIST.

Actually, if you don't already know, Norman Foster's team was dropped due to...
From San Francisco Business Times:
http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/...ml?jst=s_cn_hl
Quote:
Friday, February 23, 2007
Transbay rejection leaves architect's team with bad taste in their mouths
San Francisco Business Times - by Jim Gardner

A single dodgy dinner consumed in London a few weeks back is having an influence on the shape of the San Francisco skyline, 6,000 miles away.

When a design jury for the 1,000-foot Transbay Terminal and Tower met in early February, nobody was much surprised that jurors were only able to cull the international "starchitects" vying for the high-profile project from five to four.

Everyone, however, was perplexed at who didn't make the cut: Foster & Partners. The renowned English design firm of Sir Norman Foster is responsible for some of the world's most talked-about buildings over the last 30 years -- most recently a London office tower nicknamed the "erotic gherkin."

That's where the bad meal comes up, so to speak.

No one is quite sure whether the culprit was suspect curry and chips, bad toad in the hole or some other contaminated English delicacy. What is known is that David Nelson, No. 2 in the firm to Sir Norman himself, was supposed to be getting on a plane from London to San Francisco on Jan. 29 for the firm's Transbay qualifications interview on Jan. 30.

Instead, Nelson was in a very bad way with apparent food poisoning and not going anywhere.

So Foster's Transbay point man, Armstrong Yakubu, flew alone -- and into turbulence.

The design jury's nose was already out of joint that Sir Norman wouldn't be making an appearance. After all, other architecture rock stars with Transbay proposals -- Sergio Calatrava, Richard Rogers and Cesar Pelli -- all showed up in person.

Jeffrey Heller of Heller Manus, a local part of the design team, said no snub was intended. Foster travels for key design presentations, but otherwise stays close to work at the London studio. His presence wasn't seen as necessary.

"This was a qualification interview," said Heller. "It was an interview about the qualification of the developer and the design team. It was not a design interview. In fact, they told us not to bring anything related to the design."

Nevertheless, with neither Foster nor his right-hand man present to speak on their behalf, their firm was bumped from further consideration. Appeals for reconsideration went nowhere.

"It was assumed that the No. 2 guy and the partner in charge of the project would be sufficient, but people being people, the fact that (Nelson) wasn't there had a huge impact," said Heller.

Heller said the first-round knockout "stunned" the entire team, which in addition to Foster and Heller Manus included developers Related Cos. and TMG Partners.

It should stun the rest of us as well. Taking absolutely nothing from the quartet of supremely qualified architects still in the running, Foster's qualifications for a transportation-oriented project speak for themselves. Transportation has long been a Foster specialty. As for Nelson, his resume includes being lead designer on the Canary Wharf Underground station in London, Florence's high-speed railway station, and the Bilbao Metro in Spain.

-- Contributor: J.K. Dineen.

Last edited by SFView; Feb 1, 2008 at 10:24 PM.
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  #1565  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2008, 8:34 PM
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I think we already posted this John King article from the Chronicle from last September 21, 2007 (old news), but I don't recall seeing this graphic posted below in this thread.
Chronicle article:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../BAO7S9J2H.DTL

From: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object...7S9J2H.DTL&o=1
Quote:
'Aggressive schedule' for proposed Transbay transit center, tower
The details are certain to change as the project evolves, but the complex selected by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority includes an 80-story office tower at First and Mission streets that would climb 1,200 feet and contain 1.6 million square feet of space. Alongside it, a transit station topped by a park would stretch from Beale Street nearly to Second Street. Illustrations by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Graphic by the Chronicle
I believe I heard somewhere that the overall building color is changed to white, so it may look more like this rendering as the design we know of so far, even though the graphic is black-and-white.
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  #1566  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2008, 11:49 PM
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I know I missed that graphic back in September, so thanks for adding it. I still pine for the SOM proposal, but I'm coming around on this one. Reminders of some of the features, like this diagram provides, really help.
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  #1567  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 12:06 AM
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What a positively boring tower. I can't say I find anything a I like about it. It's completely uninspiring and that's a terrible trait to have when this building will absolutely dominate everything around it. The SOM was really a masterpiece and I'm blown away that tower received last ranks...

'Pelli's leftovers' is exactly what it is. Pelli designs such recycled, boring crap when it comes to skyscrapers that it could make me cry. Pelli obviously focused on the tacky and overdone terminal; the tower feels like some afterthought. Seriously, it looks more like a temporary massing study than a serious proposal. San Francisco shouldn't settle for this banal throwaway...but seeing as nobody there has the balls to take a risk with design I guess everyone will ultimately be doomed to see this thing 50 years from now and think 'damn...that was a bad choice.'
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  #1568  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 1:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFView View Post
Sergio Calatrava, Richard Rogers and Cesar Pelli -- all showed up in person
Sergio Calatrava eh? Never heard that one before.
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  #1569  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 1:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CGII View Post
San Francisco shouldn't settle for this banal throwaway...but seeing as nobody there has the balls to take a risk with design I guess everyone will ultimately be doomed to see this thing 50 years from now and think 'damn...that was a bad choice.'
You are mistaken. The design was chosen for 2 reasons: (1) Pelli's partner Hines is offering twice as much money for the site and the TransBay Authority still hasn't identified the source of all the needed funding; (2) The SOM design did not satisfy the needs of the transit representatives as they saw it. The SOM design was not rejected because it was/is too "risky". Once the selection committee saw the competing financial packages and the proposed bus routing through the terminal (which provoked skepticism concerning the SOM proposal from AC Transit the moment it was presented), I don't think they even seriously considered any of the other designs--nor can they unless somebody finds another couple of hundred million under a mattress somewhere.
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  #1570  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 1:53 AM
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Too bad we can't get some really nice billionaire(s) to help.
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  #1571  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 2:46 AM
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Damn. So this wasn't a design competition (like I thought) as much as an auction.

I had thought it was the developer/city seeking out designs.
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Last edited by CGII; Feb 13, 2008 at 3:09 AM.
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  #1572  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 2:53 AM
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I think someone on the jury panel said it wasn't "a beauty contest," or something like that, the night of the first competition presentations last August. They certainly made that clear in their final selection of the winner.
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  #1573  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 3:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGII View Post
Damn. So this wasn't a design competition (like I thought) as much as an auction.
Correct. As much as I wanted SOM, how can we expect them to just discard $200M when they're still way short of financing this thing? I don't like the decision, but I can understand it.
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  #1574  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 3:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CGII View Post
Damn. So this wasn't a design competition (like I thought) as much as an auction.

I had thought it was the developer/city seeking out designs.
It was the TransBay Joint Powers Authority seeking a team consisting of an architect and a developer to present a proposal for the site that would include a terminal and could include a tower to pay the bills (it was assumed all proposals would include a tower, because there would be no other way to make the development profitable, but it was uncertain what proportion of the tower space would be residential, commercial or other). Pelli paired with Hines and proposed an all-office tower which allowed them to provide the largest chunk of money to the TJPA. SOM paired with Rockefeller Development Group, and Rogers paired with Forest City and McFarlane Partners. They both proposed mixed-use towers (and SOM proposed a dual-level terminal using less of the site but making bus access more complex), apparently believing that putting some housing in the proposal would be attractive to the TJPA. But, like I said, they believed wrong because the TJPA needs money and they almost had to pick the design that brought in the most money as long as it met the transit needs. It also appears that SOM and Rogers thought that if their design was deemed the most attractive, they would be allowed to "tweek" the proportion of office in the tower and, hence, the financial contribution. But that didn't happen.
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  #1575  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 4:04 AM
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Originally Posted by SFView View Post
Too bad we can't get some really nice billionaire(s) to help.
Maybe we can convince Larry Ellison that highrise development is as much fun as sailing.
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  #1576  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2008, 5:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
Maybe we can convince Larry Ellison that highrise development is as much fun as sailing.


Anyway, while I think there were better choices, I would be overjoyed if this was built at its existing height, or more. It has been decades in the coming.
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  #1577  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 12:03 AM
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Mayor Gavin Newsom: "People say, 'is this going to be exactly 1200?' Whatever... Not the truth... This is not the end of the process, or the public input, quite the contrary." As much as Hines says that the height and design will not change (much), it could still very well change. The studies by Planning due later this year, will help bring us closer to what may actually be feasible for much of the new development proposed for the Transbay area. Hopefully, we will find that 1200' or more will be acceptable for Transbay, and 1200' will be acceptable for the Piano's towers across the street, and not any shorter for both. Personally, for San Francisco to stand with so many other cities in the world building supertalls now and in the near future, something closer to 1400' would seem better. We just have to wait and see, and keep our fingers crossed. I also hope the Pelli's design for the tower gets improved and more interesting.

For anyone who missed this news story on KRON4, here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS1nSk9uI2Q

As for anyone who thinks that the new Transbay Tower will be one lone 'finger' in San Francisco's skyline, this comment really doesn't hold much weight. There will be other new very tall towers that will accompany it nearby. It appears that for certain NIMBY's, lack of interest in new high-rise development leads to lack of knowledge.

Last edited by SFView; Feb 22, 2008 at 8:00 AM.
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  #1578  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 5:17 AM
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"This is the only design that had a park of this scale. They all had elements of recreation, but this was the only one that had a very large park element."

-- Yeah ... its also the only one that had an extra $250 million with the package.

People against this proposal are clearly looking at anything they can to try to put a negative spin on it. A middle finger? Give me a break ...

Newsom's commentary give some encouraging thought though, hopefully it gives insight to people who dont know much about whats going on.

Thanks for that link, SFView
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  #1579  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 5:43 PM
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giving sf the finger video

so y would ppl be ok with a 50 story tower but not a 90 story one? its not like it makes much difference on street-level. i say we give them the 'finger'
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  #1580  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2008, 5:54 PM
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--When have you ever seen a building design in SF get TALLER after public input?

--Nice balance on that KRON story (where were the advocates of a tall--even taller--structure?) I'm going to their web site to see if there's a place to emial them about that and I suggest others do the same.

--I don't trust Gavin on this one.
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