With the anniversary of 9/11, this week’s New York Times Op-Doc is “Foootprint: Where the Towers Stood,” by Sara Newens. The film paints an intimate portrait of one day’s visitors to the 9/11 Memorial — and the ways grief, curiosity and everyday life mix and coexist. It’s a profound exploration of a public space designed to sustain and extend public memory. Watch the full video on NYTimes.com.
Salesforce Transit Center by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Opens in San Francisco
The long-awaited multimodal Salesforce Transit Center, which opened for its first weekday commute Monday, elevates an oft-mundane building type with a 5.4-acre public park—one of the largest accessible green roofs in the country.
"A grand act of place making, San Francisco’s just-opened Salesforce Transit Center elevates an oft-mundane building type—a mass transit station—with a 5.4-acre public park, one of the largest accessible green roofs in the country. The 1.2 million-square-foot center, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, helps to assert a new identity for the city, as a metropolis of distinctly contemporary density and form. It also presents an alluring vision of a sustainable future. But with some key functionality missing, it must wait to fulfill its larger mission.
Conceived as the “Grand Central Station of the West,” the nearly $2.3 billion project has been more than 10 years in the making, a saga of funding problems, budget overruns, political scuffles, and delays of the kind that seem to bedevil all large public infrastructure projects in the U.S." ...Continue reading at Architectural Record.
August 13, 2018
Gold rush: disconnected planning a threat to Sydney's Olympic parklands
Sydney Olympic Park and its unique parklands demand a strategic rethink, to bridge the gap between optimistic big-picture visions and the reality of increased urban density.
"Sydney Olympic Park first came to public consciousness at the 2000 Olympic Games. Its parklands, which were located adjacent to the suburb of sports fields, stadiums and throngs of global visitors, nevertheless played an integral part in Sydney’s successful game bid. A green backdrop to the pageantry of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the parklands feature mangrove swamps full of frog and bird life. The eponymous suburb and its associated parklands were designed for the event, geared to handle intense visitor traffic for the short timeframe of the games, followed by an expected period of quiet, as the new infrastructure was slowly integrated into the ongoing event culture of the city.
Since 2000 the surrounding suburbs and visitor traffic to the parklands have grown consistently. Now planning agencies across NSW are making Olympic Park their focus, with the Greater Sydney Commission working to reorient Sydney around a new centre that spans from Parramatta to Olympic Park. Aside from being the geographic centre of Sydney, this corridor incorporates an impressive list of civic assets, including Olympic Park’s Bicentennial Park and Millennium Parklands, making it, in many ways, an obvious choice for intensified development. Accordingly the Commission’s Greater Parramatta and Olympic Park vision styles Olympic Park as a future “Lifestyle Super Precinct”. Yet, there is a profound dissonance..."
"After more than a decade of planning, the first stage of San Francisco’s new transit hub is almost complete. The new Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-designedSalesforce Transit Center, which spans several blocks in downtown San Francisco, will bring together 11 bus lines and eventually trains from around the Bay Area, organizing the city’s sprawling public transportation system. But all attention over the weekend was onthe hub’s rooftop park, which opened to the public August 11.
The 5.4-acre Transbay Park, which occupies the entire roof of the transit center, is one of the largest stretches of greenery to open in San Francisco in years. It brings much-needed public, open space to a newly named neighborhood called the East Cut, a dense, heavily commercial area of the city that has few parks. The park has a public plaza that also connects via a skybridge to the fifth floor of the Salesforce Tower next door, along with an amphitheater, lawns, and botanical gardens.
Designed by PWP Landscape Architecture, which codesigned the 9/11 memorial plaza in New York, the park is similar to a number of other urban parks that seek to use green space to offset the carbon footprint of their cities and make them more livable. But this park is unique for effecting more sweeping change." ...
"Richard Haag, an award winning landscape architect who designed the internationally respected Gas Works Park in Seattle and founded the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, died May 9 of natural causes. He was 94.
Haag was also known for designing Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, redesigning Seattle Center after the World's Fair to make it a public park, and designing Steinbrueck Park in Seattle with Victor Steinbrueck. ...
Peter Walker, a partner with PWP Landscape Architecture in Berkeley, worked with Haag in Halprin's office in the mid-1950s. He said Haag was one of the funniest and the most passionately political people he's ever met — an environmentalist in the 1950s when few people were.
“He would go to city hall and yell and scream,” said Walker. “You didn't want to be on the other side of Rich's passion. He was formidable.”
Walker said Haag also trained some great landscape architects, and encouraged them to stand up and make a difference, including the late Frank James who taught at Harvard."
"Keep your eye on Adam Greenspan, design partner at the Berkeley-based PWP Landscape Architecture, founded by the esteemed Peter Walker. Greenspan is just completing two remarkable—and vastly different—projects in which landscape and architecture are inextricably intertwined. For Glenstone, in suburban Maryland, a 200-acre park with a new contemporary art museum designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, set to open in October, Greenspan and his team created a 21st-century arcadia for the clients, Mitchell and Emily Rales; in San Francisco, the office has built a five-acre respite for urbanites atop the Salesforce Transit Centerdesigned by Pelli Clark Pelli (PCP), amidst a cluster of skyscrapers, including the city’s tallest,Salesforce Tower, also by PCP. Greenspan spoke with RECORD editor in chief Cathleen McGuigan about the two projects. Here are excerpts from their conversation."
"The new 'The Pavilions' space by Thomas Phifer and Partners(with landscapes designed by PWP Landscape Architecture) is scheduled to open on October 4 and will showcase pieces by big name artists like Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Serra, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
'Incorporated seamlessly into Glenstone’s 230-acre landscape, the Pavilions comprises 11 distinct rooms installed with artworks drawn exclusively from the museum’s collection, grouped around a lushly planted, 18,000-square-foot Water Court,' explains the museum's announcement.
'At the time of the opening, the building will feature a number of spaces dedicated to single-artist installations, including major works by Michael Heizer, Roni Horn, On Kawara, Brice Marden, Lygia Pape, Charles Ray, and Cy Twombly, among others. In addition, a presentation of 65 works by 52 artists will occupy the largest room in the Pavilions, a column-free space of 9,000 square feet. The exhibition will offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a more extensive selection of masterworks dating from 1943 to 1989.'"
"Thousands of visitors jammed the new Transbay Transit Center for its grand opening party Saturday, tapping their toes to live music while waiting to hop on crammed escalators that carried them to the bustling bus deck and sprawling 5.4-acre rooftop park.
Lines stretched the length of the Grand Hall as people tried to get into the $2.2 billion multistory transportation hub.
Visitors climbed onto vintage buses parked on the bus desk as part of the Historic and Contemporary Bus Expo, adults sipped alcoholic beverages and played Foosball in the Main Plaza, and children rolled down soft hills of grass overlooking chaotic San Francisco streets and hustling pedestrians.
'I never expected this center to finish or to be this good,' said Elias Berhanu of San Francisco. 'I remember before construction even started, when we had the old Transbay Terminal, which you didn’t even feel comfortable standing in.'"
"Part park, part bus station and aspirational future high-speed rail terminus, the newTransbay Transit Centeropens with literal fanfare (courtesy of theWest Grand Bass Band) on Aug. 11, followed by a number of exceedingly family friendly events, including an instrument “petting zoo” for kids, drumming and dance performances, a redwoods 'talk & touch' and a yoga class. Bus service begins the following day.
Missing from thatlist of eventsis any mention of the building’s four public art pieces, facilitated by the San Francisco Arts Commission, which punctuate a hovering white structure designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the “day” to the old bus depot’s dark, cold, concrete-bunker-like 'night.'
For some of the artists involved, the Aug. 11 opening is the culmination of upwards of 10 years of planning, proposing, altering, testing and overseeing their public art projects.
On the ground floor, Bay Area-based artistJulie Changdesigned the grand hall’s 20,000-square-foot terrazzo floor, a swirling design of native flora and fauna punctuated by geometric patterns representing a smorgasbord of source material, including African textiles, Chinese calligraphy, pottery design, genetic mutations, Islamic tile and wallpaper."
"Sitting amid the redwoods and Japanese maples in the new park atop the Transbay Transit Center, visitors can’t hear or see the buses on the ramp one floor down. Instead, they see intermittent jets of water that shoot up along a bed of white and gray granite, tracing the path of vehicles passing directly below.
It takes a trainspotter to puzzle out that the geysers are triggered by a bus, looping into the terminal from the Bay Bridge. But that’s the catch to “Bus Fountain,” one of four pieces of public art for the long-awaited terminal.
“The fountain is like a huge musical instrument that is played by the bus drivers,” said artist Ned Kahn of Sebastopol during a recent test.
As the creator behind “Bus Fountain,” Kahn, 58, explained that there are nozzles planted along the granite stream bed and that each nozzle is attached to a sensor attached to the ceiling of the bus deck below. The water shoots up in time with the buses passing underneath — as many as 100 an hour during the commute rush — for an orchestrated water show."
“Salesforce Transit Center has become a reality that generated a building boom in that area,” Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh said. “The minute the developers saw the transit center under construction, they started developing the parcels.”
The Aug. 11 opening of the transit center’s rooftop park, Salesforce Park, marks the end of the center's initial transformation. The bus terminal will open to full operations on Aug. 12. “It’s going to be a really significant achievement that surpassed expectations,” Zabaneh said.
“The park is a big attraction. There is very limited quality public space and the park provides 5.4 acres of really quality public space.” He said there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the rooftop park and the most-asked question has been about the park’s opening date." Read more at BisNow...