November 14, 2006
San Francisco Transbay Terminal: Design Competition Update
Okay, so we’ve heard rumblings that both Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are, in fact, working on proposals for San Francisco’s new Transbay terminal. (A bit of trivia: Foster, Rodgers, and their two wives once worked together as "Team 4.")
And while neither architect was involved in the design of Berlin’s new Central Station (above), a reader forwards a link to "Europe's largest and newest train station" and a thought, “[i]f we stop treating San Francisco as Colonial Williamsburg, perhaps we too can think like a grown-up city."
UPDATE (12/18): We've now heard Santiago Calatrava as well.
First Published: November 14, 2006 10:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The exterior of that building is "eh," but the interior, man! I'd take all of my friends visiting from l.a. and be like "yep, I know, we rule."
Posted by: 49Giants at November 14, 2006 12:34 PM
Both are great infrastructure architects. A third that I would like to see enter the fray:
Posted by: redseca2 at November 14, 2006 12:36 PM
Agreed........the interior of that station is DEFINITELY 21st Century....
Posted by: Anonymous at November 14, 2006 1:03 PM
Most accurate comment on SF EVER
"i]f we stop treating San Francisco as Colonial Williamsburg, perhaps we too can think like a grown-up city."
Posted by: Joe at November 14, 2006 1:31 PM
Calatrava. Please say Calatrava.
Posted by: Anonymous at November 14, 2006 3:28 PM
Yay! Best news I've heard today. Lords Foster and Rogers are both geniuses.
I passed through the Berlin Hauptbahnhof this summer. Beautiful. We can only hope that SF gets a structure just as outstanding.
Posted by: greg at November 14, 2006 3:55 PM
Most accurate comment on SF EVER
"[i]f we stop treating San Francisco as Colonial Williamsburg, perhaps we too can think like a grown-up city."
I agree wholeheartedly, but isn't that a little bit like saying, if we can just get that dog to stop wagging its tail, panting and urinating in the front yard, he'd be a great pet.
Point being.....isn't that the essence of SF culture.....stand up for any cause no matter how impractical or silly it might be and no matter how much maintaining the status quo might actually be reversionary?
Posted by: Anonymous at November 14, 2006 5:26 PM
I see SF's problem linked with their anti-car "I hate freedom" policies that revolve humans as poor slaves to the car driving elite who run the parking laws
Posted by: Anonymous at November 14, 2006 9:29 PM
The problem with comparing the Berlin station and the proposed project in SF is transportation scope.
In SF, lets face it: you get a bus destination (yay), the dead end of the caltrain, and that is it. No Bart tie up, no cross town, no ferry connection, no trains to the east bay.
I ride caltrain all the time, love it. Wouldn't mind a station closer to my house. But with the Bart tunnels in the ground, cross bay ferry blocks away, being on the edge of the employment district, and a city located on a tip of land, I can't see how we will ever replicate a true central transit station. Even Union Station in Washington D.C. has some cache (with the auto train, trains to North East, metro, etc,). Perhaps with the high speed rail we can hope for a mall on par with SFO, but a destination/gateway? Has anyone here actually tried Caltrain from SFO now that they screwed up the connection with the new and improved, but slower and less convenient, BART connection?
Maybe all those high end condo buyers in south of market will start taking the bus to...
I love transit for my job, I love living where I can walk to everything else. This project will pay for itself with the real estate density alone. But as long as it takes 1B bucks to put a 1.5 mile subway in the ground, or another 1B to add a BART station on an existing line, we are going to be stuck with a glorified bus terminal + southwest airlines replacement, no matter how pretty we make it look. A wonderful building filled with a Togos and Starbucks will surely disappoint.
Posted by: Anonymous at November 14, 2006 10:29 PM
Oh well, Anonymous. Perhaps we should just forget the whole idea and settle for an inexpensive non-descript bus barn with a few train tracks.
Isn't the whole TransBay Terminal competition as much about design and functionality as it is about scale?
Posted by: greg at November 15, 2006 12:06 AM
Anonymous says 'I see SF's problem linked with their anti-car "I hate freedom" policies that revolve humans as poor slaves to the car driving elite who run the parking laws'
If maintaining billions of dollars worth of facilities exclusively for automobiles is how SF is "anti-car" then I respectively request that SF become equally anti-bike and anti-pedestrian.
Posted by: thielges at November 15, 2006 10:02 AM
For a more extensive analysis:
Posted by: greg at November 16, 2006 6:43 PM