Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Moving San Francisco Into the Future

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see three proposed architectural models for my city's new Transbay Terminal. The models were set up in City Hall. I have decided to post pictures of my choice, which I feel is the boldest and most beautiful model. I have also posted the associated article from the architect's website, but first – pictures!

As things currently stand…

The SOM Transbay Terminal

Focal Point on the Skyline

Now that's a Grand Entrance! First & Mission Streets

The Architectural Model in City Hall

A Thing of Beauty

On August 6, 2007, SOM’s San Francisco-based design partners Craig Hartman and Brian Lee presented their vision for a new transit center and tower that will transform the future of San Francisco’s transit, skyline, and downtown community. The public presentation before the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors was part of a rigorous design and development competition begun last fall. The jury’s recommendation is expected on September 20, 2007. SOM is teamed with the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation for the competition.

Signaling a new era for the city of San Francisco, SOM’s design for the new Transbay Transit Center will preserve and enhance the exceptional qualities of the City—the beauty of the light, climate, topography, bay, and City—as well as its people, while embodying a potent belief in the region’s future. The Center consists of two defining elements: the Transit Terminal, which defines the urban transportation facility for the 21st Century, and the Transit Tower, which serves as the beacon for the new center and will act as an economic and cultural catalyst for the neighborhood and the City. The programmatic and infrastructural requirements of the Transit Terminal and Tower make it a seminal model and symbol for global sustainability.
The SOM/RGDC design proposal makes a simple but bold adjustment to the TJPA’s four-block-long overhead bus deck. The adjustment will improve the transit operations, reduce annual operating costs, and radically reduce the emission of climate-changing carbon dioxide. Achieved by creating a double-deck bus platform—moving the eastern half of the bus deck to the west—the design effectively reduces the length of the bus deck by two city blocks. This innovation accommodates the entire transit program and improves operational efficiency while freeing two full city blocks for two significant civic gestures: a light-filled Transbay Hall—a dramatic arrival hall equal in scale to that of Grand Central Station—and a city-block-sized “opportunity site” or Performing Arts Park.

SOM’s 1,375-foot-high, mixed-use Transbay Tower is equally bold. Its first full floor lifts 100 feet above a full-block urban plaza at Mission Street, creating a civic portal to the Transbay Hall. Its uses include retail, cultural, office space, a boutique hotel, condominiums, and, at the top, a publicly accessible sky room. The tower’s tapered, turning structure is unique among U.S. skyscrapers. Its form, which unfolds as it reaches the sky, gracefully accommodates the different uses held within. Above the sky room are two state-of-the-art wind turbines that, combined with its photovoltaic crown, reduce annual mechanical electrical consumption by 74%. In addition to the proposed opportunity site, the SOM/RGDC project includes a partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which will provide a major digital arts program, and with the California State Library, which will lend its Sutro Collection. These partnerships add an extraordinary cultural dimension to what is already an advanced work of transportation infrastructure.

Through an intense collaboration with leading engineers and building technology experts, the Transbay Transit Center and Tower provides the highest level of environmental stewardship ever achieved in a major urban mixed-use project. The overall project harvests rainwater, reducing the burden on the city’s infrastructure, and makes extensive use of natural ventilation, natural light, as well as energy in the form of advanced solar and wind power. After the first decade of operation, the project’s combined reduction in emissions, compared to a conventional design, will be over 176,000,000 lbs of carbon dioxide. The Transit Center will achieve LEED® Platinum certification; the Tower will achieve a minimum of LEED® Gold and possibly LEED® Platinum.

Both buildings are designed to the highest levels of safety and security. The Transit Center’s base isolation structural system will allow the facility to withstand a “2,500 year” earthquake and serve as an emergency center in the event of a major seismic event. The Tower fully incorporates next generation lessons learned in the 21st Century for security and life safety.

No comments: