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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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  #341  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2007, 3:23 AM
sfgiants sfgiants is offline
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question

are they really going to build these?
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  #342  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2007, 3:27 AM
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So far, all indications point to yes. I think the only issue left to resolve is how tall each of the towers will be. Hopefully they go for the most they can while making it feasible.
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  #343  
Old Posted May 24, 2007, 4:25 AM
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...A little something to watch while we are waiting (origin unknown):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRsSGtY8Mc
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  #344  
Old Posted May 25, 2007, 3:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFView View Post
...A little something to watch while we are waiting (origin unknown):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRsSGtY8Mc
Nice--thanks!
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  #345  
Old Posted May 25, 2007, 12:19 PM
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oh wow. That was awesome! What an incredible project this is.
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  #346  
Old Posted May 25, 2007, 11:12 PM
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Now the bad news: BizTimes reports today that Santiago Calatrava has dropped out of the design competition. Three teams remain: those led by SOM, Richard Rogers and Pelli Clark Pelli. The article speculates that Boston Properties (the developer working with Calatrava) "may have decided that the Calatrava design would be economically unfeasible. Calatrava has a reputation for designing structures that, while beautiful, are exorbitant and sometimes impractical. His bridge on the Grand Canal in Venice was three times over budget . . . ."

My bet: we end up with something "practical" and mediocre from SOM.
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  #347  
Old Posted May 26, 2007, 2:42 AM
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Well crap. Calatrava certainly would have pushed the other competitors to be more innovative. Hopefully SOM won't dissapoint if they do win, they can pull a good "practical" design out of the hat every now and then.
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  #348  
Old Posted May 26, 2007, 3:45 AM
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Despite the fact that his design will not be used, I am still curious to know how his design looked like. It may or may not be bad news, depending on the final designs submitted.
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  #349  
Old Posted May 26, 2007, 3:51 AM
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I was beginning to wonder how it would be possible for Calatrava to design something that would fit with the political, aesthetic, and economic atmosphere of San Francisco, while still being Calatrava in nature. One of his terminal designs is featured in the video above. It is the one that sort of looks like a giant spiked rib cage. His twisty or pod like towers might have looked interesting to some of us, but impractically expensive to others. Calatrava often expresses design in unique and innovative structures. Calatrava's structurally innovative tower designs towers have a tendency of being somewhat taller and thinner than more conventional tower designs. One of the main criteria of the competition is to prove the economic feasibility of the design. Although his designs may have conflicted with his success in the completion, I am sorry to see him go. It is unfortunate that San Francisco can not afford a design by Calatrava. I do still wonder what he would have come up with. His tower design might also have been among the tallest.

I am not as concerned of the lack of Calatrava lessening the quality of the other designs. I am more concerned with the politics and economics of San Francisco effecting the height and quality of the designs.
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  #350  
Old Posted May 26, 2007, 5:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFView View Post
It is unfortunate that San Francisco can not afford a design by Calatrava.
Just to make it clear, my understanding is that the tower itself will be privately developed (by the developer working with each architect as Boston Properties was working with Calatrava) on land purchased (or leased) from the city and the purchase price/lease money will be applied to the public portion of the project, the terminal itself. Therefore, it's not so much a question of what the city can afford--because the terminal already has a well-defined budget--but what the tower developer thinks will "pencil out" (something that depends on the mix of office/housing/hotel and many other factors).

The point of allowing a very tall tower is that the ability to build very tall makes it possible to charge more for the land the tower will sit on--because the land cost will be a smaller portion of the total project cost. That, in turn, brings in more money for the terminal. It's that fact which caused anti-development types like Chris Daly to support height in this project.
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  #351  
Old Posted May 26, 2007, 5:41 AM
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Just to make it clear, my understanding is that the tower itself will be privately developed (by the developer working with each architect as Boston Properties was working with Calatrava) on land purchased (or leased) from the city and the purchase price/lease money will be applied to the public portion of the project, the terminal itself. Therefore, it's not so much a question of what the city can afford--because the terminal already has a well-defined budget--but what the tower developer thinks will "pencil out" (something that depends on the mix of office/housing/hotel and many other factors).

The point of allowing a very tall tower is that the ability to build very tall makes it possible to charge more for the land the tower will sit on--because the land cost will be a smaller portion of the total project cost. That, in turn, brings in more money for the terminal. It's that fact which caused anti-development types like Chris Daly to support height in this project.
Yes, sorry I missed that. It is actually more of an economic concern of Boston Properties, rather than the city. The rest of what you say, I now agree as well. Thanks for pointing that out. I am often surrounded by a very young, noisy, but chearful distraction that is almost unavoidable when I read and write at home. Work is not a good place either, but I much rather do this at home. Okay, back on topic...

Last edited by SFView; May 26, 2007 at 5:54 AM.
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  #352  
Old Posted May 28, 2007, 7:45 AM
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Quote:
Calatrava waves adios to Transbay competition
San Francisco Business Times - May 25, 2007
by J.K. Dineen

The development team led by the dazzling Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has dropped out of the Transbay Terminal and Tower design competition, ending a bid many observers considered a favorite to win the contest.

Boston Properties, the developer Calatrava was working with, informed the Transbay Joint Powers Authority on Monday that the team was withdrawing from the juried competition, according to a TJPA spokesman.

The Calatrava team is the second high-profile architect jettisoned since five design teams originally jumped into the pool. The other, a team with Sir Norman Foster as lead designer, was not invited to join the final round of bidders because Foster did not show up at a pre-qualification meeting and jurors felt the team was underprepared.

Three teams remain in the competition. They include architect Skidmore Owings Merrill and Rockefeller Group Development Corp.; Richard Rogers Partnership with developer Forest City Enterprises; and architect Pelli Clarke Pelli with Hines as developer.

"The TJPA is very thrilled we have three world-class competitors for the Transbay and we're sorry for the group that decided not to bid because we think it's a signature development," said a TJPA spokesman.

David Meckel, director of planning and former dean of architecture at the California College of the Arts, said Calatrava's departure is "nothing to lose sleep over." He noted that global superstar architects are prone to jumping into multiple high-profile competitions simultaneously with the expectation that a large percentage will fall through.

"Is Calatrava one of the most distinctive architects and engineers in the world? Yes. Would it be cool to have that kind of innovation in the Bay Area? The answer to that is yes. But these are all really good choices."

Sources said that Boston Properties may have decided that the Calatrava design would be economically unfeasible. Calatrava has a reputation for designing structures that, while beautiful, are exorbitant and sometimes impractical. His bridge on the Canal Grande in Venice was three times over budget and the architect filed a lawsuit against the city of Bilbao, Spain, after changes were made to a bridge at the airport he designed.

Boston Properties didn't return calls seeking comment.

jkdineen@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4971
Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...ml?t=printable
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  #353  
Old Posted May 29, 2007, 1:12 AM
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I would be happy with just a simple glass tower, like 555 mission or millenium, as long as it is at least 1000'. We still have the Renzo Piano project as far as creativity in architecture is concerned, which sounds very promising if it finally goes through.
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  #354  
Old Posted May 29, 2007, 4:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post
I would be happy with just a simple glass tower, like 555 mission or millenium, as long as it is at least 1000'. We still have the Renzo Piano project as far as creativity in architecture is concerned, which sounds very promising if it finally goes through.
I disagree and don't think that we should settle for anything less then greatness for our tallest signature property. San Francisco has done that too many times in the past and we are living with the ramifications of it. A super tall simple building will be equated with mediocrity here once again.
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  #355  
Old Posted May 29, 2007, 5:55 AM
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I disagree and don't think that we should settle for anything less then greatness for our tallest signature property. San Francisco has done that too many times in the past and we are living with the ramifications of it. A super tall simple building will be equated with mediocrity here once again.

simple does not need to mean mediocre. Something simple, supertall, and thin could be quite stunning, as One Rincon and Millenium are showing us. I just think it should be simply beautiful if we can't have something more adventurous.
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  #356  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2007, 7:39 AM
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Sometimes it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the way things like this get done in San Francisco.

This is the same project, remember, where they actually issued a building permit for a project that would have made the CalTrain access to the new terminal near-impossible and the building was started before anyone said, "Oops!" So they had to take it by emmindent domain.

Keystone Cops all the way.

Quote:
SAN FRANCISCO
Transbay tower's final height limit still up in the air
Nevertheless, rough proposals to develop train, bus terminal, rest of site due in July

John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
Sunday, June 3, 2007

When development teams submit their bids next month to build what could be San Francisco's tallest skyscraper, one key detail will be missing: the actual height of the building.

The tower proposed for First and Mission streets is part of larger efforts to build a new terminal for buses and commuter trains on the same block, and planning officials a year ago suggested raising the heights around the new station -- perhaps above 1,000 feet.

But the Planning Department has yet to begin studies on whether such heights make environmental sense at that location. So for now the zoning remains at 550 feet -- and the teams seeking to buy or lease the land from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority don't know exactly how large a tower they might be able to build.

Despite this, officials say the competition is on track -- and the loose ends shouldn't cause the project or competition to unwind.

"I don't think it affects us in a bad way at all," said Maria Ayerdi, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. "We need to have a design team on board by April or May of 2008, and we're on schedule."

The authority was created in 2001 to replace the existing Transbay Terminal with a new transit center that would be the destination of buses from throughout the Bay Area and passenger trains from the South Bay and perhaps even Southern California.

The overall project cost is estimated at $3.4 billion, $983 million of which would fund the initial phase that includes tearing down the existing terminal and erecting its replacement.

The tower is a critical piece of the package, since authority officials estimate a developer would pay at least $360 million to control the site at the southeast corner of First and Mission streets where a high-rise would be allowed.

To whet interest, the authority in November launched an international competition for a "design and development team" that not only would build a tower but also design the new terminal.

Five teams responded; four were invited to submit full proposals that are due July 10. Last month one team -- made up of Boston Properties and renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava -- pulled out of the running.

The remaining trio is formidable. Forest City Enterprises and McFarlane Properties is working with English architect Richard Rogers and the San Francisco firm SMWM. The development firm Hines is with Pelli Clark Pelli Architects of New York, and Rockefeller Group has paired with the San Francisco office of Skidmore Owings Merrill. During a review in late May where the teams went through technical issues with authority staff, Rogers and Cesar Pelli both flew into San Francisco for the presentations.

A seven-member jury composed largely of design professionals will choose the winning team based on factors such as the tower's demonstration of "green design, seismic and structural innovation." The competition rules also state the jury "will focus on the timing and amount of revenue to the (authority)."

The reality of the situation, however, makes it likely that teams will propose a range of economic offers since they're unable to say definitely how large and tall their tower might be.

For a time it seemed the sky was the limit: Planners in May 2006 proposed a cluster of towers starting at 850 feet near First and Mission. That's the height of the Transamerica Pyramid, now the city's tallest structure.

Additional height would boost the value of Transbay land. Also, by allowing two or three other extra-tall towers, the additional property taxes could be steered toward the project.

Aesthetics were a factor as well: "We have not paid a lot of attention to the drama of our skyline," Planning Director Dean Macris fretted at the time.

But Macris -- who was on vacation last week and unavailable for comment -- stressed that zoning changes would not be done without first studying the impact of such towers on shadows, winds, traffic and other elements of the downtown environment.

The assumption was that such a study would be started by the fall. Instead, it was December before the Planning Department issued a request for consultants to provide technical assistance on the zoning review. When both respondents also were on Transbay teams, complaints from competition rivals led the department to stop the process.

In May the department started again -- seeking a consultant to review tower prototypes from a seismic and safety perspective as well as urban design. The firm must also deliver results "as expeditiously as possible."

Submissions are due on June 18. The department wants to release a draft set of zoning proposals next spring.


In the meantime, the competition teams were directed in March to expect a maximum height of between about 800 and 1,200 feet, while striving for a design "as slender as possible in all aspects."

At the Transbay authority, Ayerdi voiced confidence that the submissions in July will be strong and that a team will be selected in September, with contract negotiations then beginning in earnest.

"The contract we negotiate will be complex," Ayerdi said. "By the time all the details get ironed out, the Planning Department will have the information in place. I'm staying positive."



Online resources:

Information on the Transbay Transit Center project and competition:

links.sfgate.com/ZFV

Information on the Planning Department's work in the Transbay area:

links.sfgate.com/ZFW

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...3/TRANSBAY.TMP

Last edited by BTinSF; Jun 3, 2007 at 7:53 PM.
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  #357  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2007, 10:49 AM
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Oh boy, this certainly is not good news for the project. I had hoped that they were at least somewhat underway with that process; so far, I'm not happy. I hope this does not impede the architects from designing the tallest and most beautiful designs. Sometimes (most times actually), its just frustrating what they do in there.
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  #358  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2007, 2:49 PM
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Three teams remain in the competition. They include architect Skidmore Owings Merrill and Rockefeller Group Development Corp.; Richard Rogers Partnership with developer Forest City Enterprises; and architect Pelli Clarke Pelli with Hines as developer.
All good !

I'm not sorry Calatrava and Foster are out of the competition. They're certainly capable of producing good projects, but I'd hate to see them everywhere.
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  #359  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2007, 3:35 PM
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Does the zoning remaining at 550 feet for now have any impact on the other project(the five Piano towers project)that involved towers up to 1200 feet? Isn't that proposal directly next to this one in the same area? Or is that not in the 'transist district' area and this does not affect that?
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  #360  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2007, 7:50 PM
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^^^Sure. The Piano project is being designed well above the currently allowable height and can't proceed at that height unless the zoning is changed. Until I read this article, though, I thought that change was a near-certainty because it has a lot of political support, even from quarters that don't normally support height. Now I'm wondering.
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