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View Poll Results: Which transbay tower design scheme do you like best?
#1 Richard Rogers 39 7.88%
#2 Cesar Pelli 98 19.80%
#3 SOM 358 72.32%
Voters: 495. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1101  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 4:32 PM
CityKid CityKid is offline
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^^^ The SOM design was not new and daring. They're building it in China. Behold the Jinling Hotel:



(Found at archrecord.construction.com)
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  #1102  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 5:21 PM
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I am so dissapointed. I have lost so much enthusiasm and excitement for this. The SOM design is one of the most elegant and innovative I have seen in years.

I read the Jury's full report and they discuss flow and functional issues with the SOM design. Well, it's a work in progress. Things can be tweaked and adjusted through the process.

The Pelli design is just so boring and bland. And no one is going to use the park. Maybe on a hot sunny day. But it will be completely surrounded by towers no less than 400 feet. It won't be like Yerba Buena Gardens, it will be like Crocker Galleria.

And if they want a truly active building with 24 hour life, they would mix the uses. You think anyone will be around on the weekend?

And finally in the Jury's report they say the Great Hall in SOM's proposal is too big and the entrance and incredible plaza could be overwhelming. Like how the Golden Gate bridge is too big? Or the way the Eiffel Tower is overwhelming? It's called ambition. And it's what makes grand projects awe inspiring.

I'm not giving up though, I've already written 8 emails and plan to write a lot more. We have until the 20th.
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  #1103  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 5:29 PM
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  #1104  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 5:37 PM
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Reminiscence Reminiscence is offline
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I guess Hines literally gave them an offer they couldnt refuse. Technically, they could refuse it, but emphasized by the fact that this is San Francisco we're talking about here and that funding is somewhat short for the entire project, I doubt it. Had funding not been a problem, I'm almost certain SOM's design would have been chosen. I dont really see the bus level structure as the problem thats killing SOM because Roger's terminal, as I understood it, featured a terminal similar to that of Pelli's (at least level-wise). It really is just the money offered by the 3.

Is it too late for SOM to cough up more dough, or to at least change its design for the bus terminal, or are we stuck with what we've got now?
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  #1105  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 5:39 PM
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  #1106  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 6:28 PM
paulsfca paulsfca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slock View Post
I am so dissapointed. I have lost so much enthusiasm and excitement for this. The SOM design is one of the most elegant and innovative I have seen in years.

I read the Jury's full report and they discuss flow and functional issues with the SOM design. Well, it's a work in progress. Things can be tweaked and adjusted through the process.

The Pelli design is just so boring and bland. And no one is going to use the park. Maybe on a hot sunny day. But it will be completely surrounded by towers no less than 400 feet. It won't be like Yerba Buena Gardens, it will be like Crocker Galleria.

And if they want a truly active building with 24 hour life, they would mix the uses. You think anyone will be around on the weekend?

And finally in the Jury's report they say the Great Hall in SOM's proposal is too big and the entrance and incredible plaza could be overwhelming. Like how the Golden Gate bridge is too big? Or the way the Eiffel Tower is overwhelming? It's called ambition. And it's what makes grand projects awe inspiring.

I'm not giving up though, I've already written 8 emails and plan to write a lot more. We have until the 20th.
Yes...I couldn/t agree more. I like Pelli's design, simple and elegant but it does pale in comparison to SOM's. I also emailed the TJPA in support of SOM's proposal and am hoping for the best though I think it may already be a done deal. If Pelli's offer is officially chosen on the 20th, I will send subsequent emails suggesting that SOM's design be used in another parcel slated for future development in the transbay area.
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  #1107  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 6:30 PM
paulsfca paulsfca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slock View Post
I am so dissapointed. I have lost so much enthusiasm and excitement for this. The SOM design is one of the most elegant and innovative I have seen in years.

I read the Jury's full report and they discuss flow and functional issues with the SOM design. Well, it's a work in progress. Things can be tweaked and adjusted through the process.

The Pelli design is just so boring and bland. And no one is going to use the park. Maybe on a hot sunny day. But it will be completely surrounded by towers no less than 400 feet. It won't be like Yerba Buena Gardens, it will be like Crocker Galleria.

And if they want a truly active building with 24 hour life, they would mix the uses. You think anyone will be around on the weekend?

And finally in the Jury's report they say the Great Hall in SOM's proposal is too big and the entrance and incredible plaza could be overwhelming. Like how the Golden Gate bridge is too big? Or the way the Eiffel Tower is overwhelming? It's called ambition. And it's what makes grand projects awe inspiring.

I'm not giving up though, I've already written 8 emails and plan to write a lot more. We have until the 20th.
Yes...I couldn/t agree more. I like Pelli's design, simple and elegant but it does pale in comparison to SOM's. I also emailed the TJPA in support of SOM's proposal and am hoping for the best though I think it may already be a done deal. If Pelli's offer is officially chosen on the 20th, I will send subsequent emails suggesting that SOM's design be used in another parcel slated for future development in the transbay area.
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  #1108  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 7:36 PM
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Originally Posted by craeg View Post
I dunno.... I think it is that bad. SF has been vehemently anti development for decades. We had a chance here to produce something new and daring - and we went for the safest most bland design (that kicked in the most money)
Now I understand why Pelli barely put any effort into their tower and spent almost the entire time talking about the park - they planned to kick in an enormous amount of money to smooth things over.
1.6 MSF of office space is really going to activate the street. oh yeah and maybe they'll throw in some residential if they absolutely have to.
Maybe I missed something, but SOM's proposal does not look to interact or activate the streets surrounding the terminal in any way beyond the primary entrance. Both the Rogers and Pelli proposals emphasize the porosity of their terminal designs, and in both renderings and elevations showed the variety of shops and activities that would line Natoma and Minna streets. This may have been another reason as to why the jury looked so unfavorably on the SOM proposal. SOM does show the possibility of storefronts and cafes, but it really seems like an afterthought beyond the interior of the terminal. A large elevated cage (as beautiful as it may be) spanning that many city blocks does very little to enliven the area.
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  #1109  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 8:19 PM
WildCowboy WildCowboy is offline
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Well, I only see one way for Pelli/Hines to add residential and still send $350 million into the TJPA's coffers: Add another 20 floors to the building.

Last edited by WildCowboy; Sep 12, 2007 at 9:28 PM. Reason: finally the forums are moving fast enough to allow me to fix my typo
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  #1110  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 8:36 PM
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I don't know if this has already been linked, but the Transbay Authority has put up the full 106 page PDF of the jury's recommendation:

http://www.transbaycenter.org/TransB...nt.aspx?id=323

Everyone should read through it. It has tons of great information, and makes the reasons for their decision much clearer.

Last edited by caramatt; Sep 11, 2007 at 8:53 PM.
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  #1111  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 8:51 PM
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If all fails in the end, they should compromise. SOM's tower with Pelli's terminal. Of course thats just a dream as it could never happen.
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  #1112  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 9:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caramatt View Post
I don't know if this has already been linked, but the Transbay Authority has put up the full 106 page PDF of the jury's recommendation:

http://www.transbaycenter.org/TransB...nt.aspx?id=323

Everyone should read through it. It has tons of great information, and makes the reasons for their decision much clearer.
I read through the jury recommendations and they dont really clear much up for me.
Specifically why do they frame the discussion on the pelli tower differently than either the Rogers or SOM? With Rogers and SOM they talk about the jury's likes and dislikes. With Pelli, they talk about the same with the addition of how the likes can be fixed via "future design"
It's all bunk - Pelli has it in the bag.
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  #1113  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 10:11 PM
caramatt caramatt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craeg View Post
I read through the jury recommendations and they dont really clear much up for me.
Specifically why do they frame the discussion on the pelli tower differently than either the Rogers or SOM? With Rogers and SOM they talk about the jury's likes and dislikes. With Pelli, they talk about the same with the addition of how the likes can be fixed via "future design"
It's all bunk - Pelli has it in the bag.
I thought they did address that discrepancy, specifically with the structural design of the SOM tower being bound up in its height, and how the proposed future resolution of the problems associated with the open-air bus loading area of Rogers' terminal was "not convincing." SOM's terminal was essentially doomed from the get-go it seemed when they decided to stack the bus depot over two levels. Over and over again that came up as a primary issue. Also, the fact that the proposed park had no sources of funding behind its operation or development essentially made the arguments for shortening the terminal null.
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  #1114  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 11:28 PM
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Ok, so, I'm beginning to be less and less upset that Pelli is the apparent winner over the amazing SOM proposal, however I have some questions about his tower. The official height is listed at 1200', but is that 1200' to the top of the entire structure (parapet included,) or 1200' to the roof of the building, beneath the parapet? Does anyone know anymore details about the tower's heights than just "It's 1200 feet."
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  #1115  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 11:59 PM
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I called up the SOM offices in San Francisco this morning and talked with a few people there about doing (tweaking) whatever the hell they have to do to get this thing into the finale and build it. They explained to me that the jury was just a "recommendation", we are in preliminary stages, and that anything can happen, and that they have notified TJPA that they can tweak any part of the design that need be, including the double stacked bus ramps if it is requested. The guy still sounded pretty confident, and didn't seem really fazed by the jury's recommendation, so all hope is not lost.

SOM is having a public education session about their terminal and tower tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 5:30 PM at Golden Gate University.

Their best words of advice to me was to write and call the TJPA board and let them know load and clear.
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  #1116  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 12:33 AM
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^Nothing will matter unless SOM gives more money...

Hines' was extremely confident in the fact that they could give $350 "even if" they had to add housing to their proposal. They said that they already had the financing in place and that they would be willing to help pay the upkeep on the park.

SOM needs to fix their terminal (more points were given to a good terminal rather than a good tower) and up the cash.

It would be irresponsible for the TJPA to give up $250 million and get a terminal that they are not happy with.
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  #1117  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 12:54 AM
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^^ I agree. Its all in the money. Rogers gave only slightly more than SOM did, however, still got second place even though their terminal didnt feature a multi-level bus depot. This news regarding SOM's flexability is very encouraging to me. If they can somehow increase their offer by say, 75% (its no small number, but with Hines so far ahead, what can you do), and concieve a plan that eliminates this multi level depot, I'd say they would be right back in it. I can only hope.
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  #1118  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 1:05 AM
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  #1119  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 1:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryBarbierSRPD View Post
Ok, so, I'm beginning to be less and less upset that Pelli is the apparent winner over the amazing SOM proposal, however I have some questions about his tower. The official height is listed at 1200', but is that 1200' to the top of the entire structure (parapet included,) or 1200' to the roof of the building, beneath the parapet? Does anyone know anymore details about the tower's heights than just "It's 1200 feet."
The SF Biz Times article that BT was kind enough to post not so long ago mentioned Pelli's tower at 1300', which got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the tower reaches 1200' to the top floor only. However, I would find it wierd that they would talk about SOM's tower at 1375' (full lenght), and not mention Pelli's full lenght of 1300'. I'm betting its 1200' to the tip of the structure.
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  #1120  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 1:14 AM
Richard Mlynarik Richard Mlynarik is offline
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My take: The Rogers proposal was the only one of real architectural merit.

The light and open (and cheap!) bus deck, losing unnecessary structure and opening out the street, is thoughtful and elegant.

The Rogers tower design is exciting, visually arresting, context-sensitive while context-challenging, structurally clever, functionally balanced, intellectually engaging, and would, if built after years of philistine NIMBY hell, have come to be seen as an iconic asset to the city.

SOM was technically right to have reconsidered the bus deck design, but technically right has nothing to do with (habitually grotesquely incompetent and ignorant) Bay Area public transporation "engineering." I would very much like to have seen something like the two-level bus design go forward (recall that the conceptual bus terminal in the original approved EIS/EIR was partially double level.) The "great hall" of the SOM design, funnelling all rail passengers though one choke point despite the fact that trains are inherently long, skinny objects, is superficially appealing, but, I suspect, would ultimately be under-used without some (quite feasible) repurposing.

The SOM tower design has obvious appeal, as evidenced by the drumbeat of cheerleading for it here. The structural solution at street level certainly attracts my admiration, but overall I find the appearance too easy to please and a little too ready to fit in among the almost uniformly undistinguished towers of our little urban backwater. I don't expect to change anybody's opinion.

The Pelli proposal has nothing to recommend it at all from my perspective, apart from the cash premium. The park will be unused, the pandering demonisation of evil bus exhaust (to be magically cleansed by the parklands) was irritating, there's such a thing as too much Ned Kahn, no obvious thought was devoted to any transportion or pedestrian circulation issues, and the tower is nearly entirely without merit. (I say this despite the fact that the Pelli-designed but SF-Planning-step-back-butchered tower further down Mission Street is one of my favourite buildings in San Francisco.)


The competition outcome was about what one might have expected, given that it was set up as a development contest, and that the real sources of excitement and innovation in architectural design, and all global expertise in transporation engineering, were excluded from the process: the first by effectively limiting participation to the top tier of starchitects and mega-practices (no Finnish graduate students or small Taiwanese firms need apply; nor for that matter firms like GMP with real transportation engineering expertise); the second by setting in stone grotesquely incompetent TJPA/Caltrain/local-consultant "engineering" decisions made over the years and effectively disallowing putative terminal designers from doing design or engaging real experts -- in fact, deviation from sub-functional sub-mediocrity was actively punished by the jury and the agency technical team.


Oh well.
It's not like one can expect anythings in San Francisco to turn out optimally, or ever particularly well.
At least we will continue to have a functioning bus terminal in downtown San Francisco, something absolutely vital for the local economy and environonment, even if the hoped-for rail extension has been so catastrophically (and unnecessarily!) mis-designed that it may better remain unrealised for some time to come.

(At least we didn't get a self-derivative Calatrava toss-off...)
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