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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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  #1121  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 1:32 AM
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I'm sure that by the time this thing actually gets built and that Pelli builds 3 500' square box towers instead of the single 1200' proposal due to public demand I'll be zipping around in my sea water powered air scooter and will have moved on to a real city and not just an empty victorian suit coasting on past generations of glamour and charm.
Even San Jose, mainly due to their high tech and businesses is getting more international attention than us.

As Pepi LePue always said, "Le sigh."

this was our chance to make SF a great international city. I'm scared that the NIMBYs are rising, more and more. Looking through the SF Gate comments, it looks like everyday there are more and more comments about fear of heights from all kinds of different people. It's turning into a battle field out there. And the planning process hasn't even officially STARTED on any of the building of the tower.

I guess I'd be happier that the Pelli tower gets chosen, and then chopped in half, versus the beautiful SOM tower having to go through such a demise.

We'll see after Sep. 20. Perhaps I'll have to filter my energies elsewhere, seems like it's all starting to go downhill, fast !
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  #1122  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 1:49 AM
pizzaman355 pizzaman355 is offline
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Why the hell are people scared of heights!!! If they build the Pelli Building it better be taller than 1200' ft. This is the most boring design out of the three and wouldn't you know it, it won! I don't car if the park is 50 football fields long, when I go over the Bay Bridge I want to see a slender 1375' tall SOM design instead of the boring 1200' obelisk shaped Pelli building. I really hope the Piano buildings look better than the Pelli design.
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  #1123  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 2:42 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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Originally Posted by Richard Mlynarik View Post
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.
Although I came to a different conclusion--favoring the SOM design for it's overall beauty of form and line, and, frankly, finding the Rogers design just too "busy"--I don't actually disagree with most of what Richard says (yeah, it shocked me too). The one thing I do strongly disagree with, though, is the above critique of the bus deck as "light and open (and cheap!)". That means no useful protection from the elements for passengers and I, for one, would expect not to have to use my parka and umbrella while waiting for a bus in January in a structure costing what this one will. At the very least it needs to be fully enclosed for protection from both rain and WIND and that would mean it would need a means of dealing with bus exhaust etc etc, adding greatly to the cost I imagine but still necessary.
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  #1124  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 2:50 AM
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Even John King seems disappointed. Which is hard to believe because he's such a proponent of "mediocrity."

Tower pick: Pelli's predictability wins out over others' pizzazz

Forget dazzling icons (uh oh, there's that Word!) on the skyline. In choosing which team of developers and architects should be given the right to transform the long-decrepit Transbay Terminal, the competition jury stuck to the basics - and the bottom line.

Of the three teams in the running, the one led by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developer Hines offers the least drama.

If it's possible to soft-pedal a proposal for a tower as tall as the Empire State Building, that's what the Hines-Pelli team did.

They have a terminal that works," said Don Stastny, who managed the competition for the Transbay Authority. "The park isn't just eye candy, it's an integrated part of the project. And the tower has a simplicity the jury really liked."

Where Skidmore went for a sensuous sheen in its tower, the design by the English firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is like a scaffold rising 1,200 feet from the ground, with floors of different shapes and sizes locked within the gaunt frame. It would be like no tower in the United States, but the jury shrugged at this would-be icon (there's that Word again!), calling it "a burly, aggressive, and industrial structure that does not marry well with the light-colored ornamental buildings of San Francisco."

When the board of the authority votes on Sept. 20, it can ignore the recommendation - though it's awkward to discard the 42-page verdict of your own jury.

If the Hines-Pelli team does get the nod, the details are sure to evolve. San Francisco planners could insist on a smaller tower, which would translate to a smaller cash offer.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../MNN4S35NK.DTL


This guy changes his mind in every article he writes.
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  #1125  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 2:56 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post
Looking through the SF Gate comments, it looks like everyday there are more and more comments about fear of heights from all kinds of different people.
Be aware that commentors on SFGate are not really "all kinds of people" but mostly the same people article after article. You have to register to comment and the average San Franciscan doesn't even read the Chronicle any more much less go to the trouble of registering on their web site. I did mostly just to comment on this issue (but I admit spouting off on other stuff is fun too ). But there are some real trolls there--I'm seeing more and more comments deleted for being racist, obnoxious, obscene or something that offends even the Chron--since you, yes you Tyler, got me in the habit of even looking at the comments.
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  #1126  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 4:44 AM
Richard Mlynarik Richard Mlynarik is offline
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duplicate

Last edited by Richard Mlynarik; Sep 12, 2007 at 5:55 AM. Reason: duplicate
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  #1127  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 4:49 AM
Richard Mlynarik Richard Mlynarik is offline
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duplicate

Last edited by Richard Mlynarik; Sep 12, 2007 at 5:57 AM. Reason: duplicate
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  #1128  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 4:59 AM
Richard Mlynarik Richard Mlynarik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
[...] The one thing I do strongly disagree with, though, is the above critique of the bus deck as "light and open (and cheap!)".
FYI "cheap" didn't mean "crappy construction" or "cut-rate"; it meant "unnecessary (and expensive) junk removed from the design".
Quote:
That means no useful protection from the elements for passengers and I, for one, would expect not to have to use my parka and umbrella while waiting for a bus in January in a structure costing what this one will. At the very least it needs to be fully enclosed for protection from both rain and WIND and that would mean it would need a means of dealing with bus exhaust etc etc, adding greatly to the cost I imagine but still necessary.
I don't think you looked carefully enough at the proposal.

http://www.transbayforestcity.com/img/transit/main.jpg
http://www.rsh-p.com/Asp/uploadedFil...iting_area.jpg
http://worldarchitecturenews.com/new...ransby%203.jpg
etc

(Tons of good renderings and plans at
http://www.rsh-p.com/render.aspx?sit...owImages=table for future nostalgic regret at a badly missed opportunity.)

The bus waiting area would have been inside, under glass (though open to the air circulating below), directly adjacent to the bus loading areas. No storms or hurricanes involved.

The buses themselves would run outside, which is a fine place for above-zero-emission vehicles to operate.

The less-than-overwhelming jurors apparently objected to there being no awning over the area between the inside bus waiting area and the bus doors, and somehow believed that this was a fatal flaw that the entire massed architural might of RSH-Partnership and the globe-spanning engineering of Arup could not rectify.
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  #1129  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 5:16 AM
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There are trolls everywhere on the internet - all one need do is look at this thread for proof of that fact. I wouldnt read too much into the comments on sfgate as they dont even guarantee that the people commenting are people in SF - or the state for that matter.
My gut feeling is that this is a done deal and the pelli design will be chosen.
I'm definitely very disappointed about that fact. I felt like the SOM tower could have been the straw the broke San Francisco's ever provincial back, leading to more modern and meaningful architecture all over the city.
Having said all that... the Pelli design looks a lot better in person (thought it really resembles an uncut p****)
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  #1130  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 5:32 AM
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Originally Posted by craeg View Post
the Pelli design looks a lot better in person (thought it really resembles an uncut p****)
potato?
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  #1131  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 6:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Mlynarik View Post
I don't think you looked carefully enough at the proposal.

The bus waiting area would have been inside, under glass (though open to the air circulating below), directly adjacent to the bus loading areas. No storms or hurricanes involved.
Frankly, I can't make much of those renderings, but I watched the entire presentation and it not only appeared to me that the bus waiting area was not entirely enclosed but it seemed that the presenter tried to sell that as a plus (fresh air and all that). Anyway, it needs to be protected including any area passengers have to traverse to get on a bus. If it is--or would be--fine.
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  #1132  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 6:13 AM
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Quote:
Tower pick: Pelli's predictability wins out over others' pizzazz
John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Forget dazzling icons on the skyline. In choosing which team of developers and architects should be given the right to transform the long-decrepit Transbay Terminal, the competition jury stuck to the basics - and the bottom line.

Of the three teams in the running, the one led by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developer Hines offers the least drama. Its terminal follows the station layout long sought by engineers at the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. The tower proposed next door is the only one that doesn't include condominiums and hotels along with office space.

Instead of pizzazz, the Hines and Pelli proposal offers a big park and an even bigger check - $350 million, more than twice what the other teams offered or the authority had expected. The argument is this: Let us build the tallest office tower San Francisco will ever see, and we can offer more money than a developer trying to juggle competing activities. We'll also toss in a 5.4-acre park that's wider than Market Street, albeit one perched 70 feet in the air.

If it's possible to soft-pedal a proposal for a tower as tall as the Empire State Building, that's what the Hines-Pelli team did.

"They have a terminal that works," said Don Stastny, who managed the competition for the Transbay Authority. "The park isn't just eye candy, it's an integrated part of the project. And the tower has a simplicity the jury really liked."

The other two teams tried to shake things up by tweaking rules and turning heads.

This is most obvious in the proposal designed the local office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill.

The firm's streamlined tower would twist and turn 1,375 feet into the sky. The jury loved the imagery, praising the "memorable and beautiful moves" - but it also noticed that the slender tower snakes upward from a base that consumes the entire block along First and Mission streets.

As for Skidmore's accompanying terminal, billed as a "great civic room" wrapped in glass and steel, the jury coolly suggested "it would never really be seen or appreciated the way it is presented."

Where Skidmore went for a sensuous sheen in its tower, the design by the English firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is like a scaffold rising 1,200 feet from the ground, with floors of different shapes and sizes locked within the gaunt frame. It would be like no tower in the United States, but the jury shrugged at this would-be icon, calling it "a burly, aggressive, and industrial structure that does not marry well with the light-colored ornamental buildings of San Francisco."

All this can change, of course.

When the board of the authority votes on Sept. 20, it can ignore the recommendation - though it's awkward to discard the 42-page verdict of your own jury.

If the Hines-Pelli team does get the nod, the details are sure to evolve. San Francisco planners could insist on a smaller tower, which would translate to a smaller cash offer. There might also be a call to include housing, for a social statement as much as anything else.

What's certain is that the selection of Hines and Pelli would bring a predictability the other teams lack. Hines has been active in San Francisco for more than 25 years, so it knows the market. The Pelli firm has rolled out dozens of sharply tailored corporate high rises during that same period.

Predictability isn't the same as pizzazz. But in a project like this, with so many ingredients still in the air, it can be awfully hard to resist.

E-mail John King at jking@sfchronicle.com.
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg.../MNN4S35NK.DTL

So they got twice as much cash as they were expecting and for a much shorter tower they could get close to what they were expecting. I smell an "only in SF" deal here.
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  #1133  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post
They have a terminal that works," said Don Stastny, who managed the competition for the Transbay Authority. "The park isn't just eye candy, it's an integrated part of the project. And the tower has a simplicity the jury really liked."

Where Skidmore went for a sensuous sheen in its tower, the design by the English firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is like a scaffold rising 1,200 feet from the ground, with floors of different shapes and sizes locked within the gaunt frame. It would be like no tower in the United States, but the jury shrugged at this would-be icon (there's that Word again!), calling it "a burly, aggressive, and industrial structure that does not marry well with the light-colored ornamental buildings of San Francisco."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../MNN4S35NK.DTL
... "They got a terminal that works?"

Of course they got a terminal that works, all three of them "work," thats not the point. This is suppose to be a signature tower that stands out as a new icon in San Francisco. If any tower has got simplicity, its Pelli allright. If thats what they were looking for, they found it.

... "A burly, aggressive, and industrial structure that does not marry well with the light-colored ornamental buildings of San Francisco."

This reason alone is already more than enough reason to build SOM's! The fact that this building does not marry well with the surrounding buildings is a good thing, this way we have something that doesnt look like a taller version of something we already have. If what we were having was truly a design competition, SOM would have no trouble winning this one. Way to go guys ... you struck down the best one and picked the most boring one, typical. Sigh, bunch of idiots ...
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  #1134  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Reminiscence View Post
... "They got a terminal that works?"

Of course they got a terminal that works, all three of them "work," thats not the point. This is suppose to be a signature tower that stands out as a new icon in San Francisco. If any tower has got simplicity, its Pelli allright. If thats what they were looking for, they found it.

... "A burly, aggressive, and industrial structure that does not marry well with the light-colored ornamental buildings of San Francisco."

This reason alone is already more than enough reason to build SOM's! The fact that this building does not marry well with the surrounding buildings is a good thing, this way we have something that doesnt look like a taller version of something we already have. If what we were having was truly a design competition, SOM would have no trouble winning this one. Way to go guys ... you struck down the best one and picked the most boring one, typical. Sigh, bunch of idiots ...
Isn't the bolded quote referring to the first(Rogers) proposal and NOT SOM? Are you not in fact then with that quote arguing for the first proposal?


*Also I knew they would go for Pelli's. I called it earlier in the thread. It was the safe way to go, and with the park and all... It was my favorite too. Although now that it appears the SOM is out, I feel bad.. I think I liked SOM more than I thought(skyscraper building partwise) even after calling the top 'boxy'..


*And no just because I am commenting and not in that area does not make me a troll or 'trolling' (referring to the remarks upthread by another poster). I infact have not seen alot of trolls or trolling in this thread.
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  #1135  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 3:31 PM
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i'm very curious to see how the Pelli/Hines proposal will be affected (meaning the amount of $$$ they would be able to pay) once the TJPA demands that the tower be mixed-use. there is NO way the planning department and (especially) board of supervisors will allow 1.8 million sq ft office tower to be built. an approval would require some sort of exemption from Prop M. Plus, Supervisor Daly won't get any affordable housing units from an office tower.
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  #1136  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 3:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Mlynarik View Post
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.
i have a question here. of all the trains stations that i've been to around the world (London, Paris, Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Milan, Madrid, etc.), it seems as if SOM's proposal (a great train hall with limited entry points onto the boarding platforms) isn't dramatically different. Even here in New York, the new Penn Station (Moynihan East/ Moynihan West) will be redesigned to have grand train halls with stairs, escalators, and elevators down to the underground platforms of New Jersey Transit, LIRR, and Amtrak.

i personally don't believe passenger circulation would have been that much of an issue, but i would love to here your rationale as to why you believe differently.

Last edited by FourOneFive; Sep 12, 2007 at 4:35 PM.
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  #1137  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 4:20 PM
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^ this is part of why I am so confused by the panel's current Pelli recommendation. The tower as designed is in violation of prop M - sure they can add housing, but they havent ...
And can you imagine how hard all the other office space companies are going to fight this? 1.8 msf of office space would have a very negative effect on the price per sq ft.
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  #1138  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 5:12 PM
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With the huge financial cushion between the Hines/Pelli bid and the other two (and it turns out the TJPA's expectation) they'll have ample ability to reduce the amount of office space through shortening the building (sigh) and/or mixing-in housing.

The bottom line is the bottom line. Despite 42 pages of filler, this comes down to the huge difference in the amount each team bid. I can't argue against that either. This project will require a lot of money, especially the CalTrain extension. It's got to come from somewhere. Apparently, part of it will come at the expense of the design.

Two specific criticisms of the SOM design that I just flat out disagree with: 1.) the base filling the entire block is a plus, not a minus, especially since a good chunk of it it is open to the street anyway. 2.) The grand entrance and hall being not used - I think they will be used as many people will choose to enter from the Fremont side because it's so dramatic. Plus, the way the base of the tower is designed, people can freely enter from Mission and come into the side of the same grand hall anyway.

It all smells of nitpicking the better design just to justify taking the highest bid.
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  #1139  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 5:12 PM
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^^^Prop. M allows 875,000 sq ft per year. Since 2000, we have not used all of the annual allotments. A couple of Mission Bay Buildings, 555 Mission and Foundry Square I are the only office buildings of significance that I can recall built during those years. I couldn't find the exact figure on the total number of "banked" square feet but 7 years times 875,000 would be over 6 million. That makes it seem likely to me we have at least a couple million available PLUS over 4 million that will accrue between now and when this building could be available in 2012. Some of that is going to be used by other buildings like the PUC building at 525 Golden Gate that the City wants to build and will surely get Prop. M priority. But it seems clear there would still be enough to build several large office buildings including this one.

I recall Hines saying at the presentation that they expected to take several years to lease it all.

Bottom line: I think it's doable but it could crimp the office development pipeline for a year or two at some point and it would soak up much of the demand for several years.
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  #1140  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 7:30 PM
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I guess we were all naive if we thought tower design has much to do with anything. The tower is a funding mechanism for the terminal and that supersedes all else

I guess if they can get rail downtown, HSR ready and a new modern bus terminal it is worth it
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