February 28, 2014
Award Winning Gang Hired To Design San Francisco Tower
Award winning Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, the architect of Chicago's undulating 82-story Aqua, has been engaged by Tishman Speyer to design a tower in San Francisco.
While the Chronicle reports that Gang's engagement is "for an as-yet-undisclosed site in the Transbay district," we'd be willing to bet that it's Tishman's site at the corner of Folsom and Spear, which includes the parking lot at 100 Folsom Street and a couple of adjoining parcels across from the Infinity which is zoned for a tower to rise up to 300 feet.
Tishman still needs to acquire an adjacent city-owned parcel in order to proceed with the development, which is likely why they're being tight lipped about the engagement.
UPDATE: For those celebrating Tishman's engagement of Gang but lamenting the idea that she'll be constrained by a site that's zoned for only 300 feet, we're going to hedge our bet above and offer some hope for additional height.
While the developer has yet to be selected, as we first reported in December, the Tishman team did attended the pre-submittal meeting for Transbay Block 8 proposals and was expected to bid for the site's development rights. And if it is Block 8 for which Gang has been engaged, she'll have 550-feet with which to work, assuming that Tishman wins the competitive bid.
UPDATE: Our original bet is in the money as the 100 Folsom Street site has since been confirmed as the location for Gang's design.
First Published: February 28, 2014 9:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The Aqua building is beautiful and interesting. Will she be allowed to design anything interesting here?
Posted by: zig at February 28, 2014 10:06 AM
Transbay Block 9 is very interesting and hasn't been modified by the planning process yet. If that one gets built, I'll feel pretty good about future designs, like this one.
Posted by: OMN at February 28, 2014 10:17 AM
I hope its for one of the taller parcels - it would be a waste of her talent to do something 300 feet tall.
Posted by: Joe at February 28, 2014 10:41 AM
Based on the headline I assumed a gang was designing the building. Maybe the bloods or crips. But now I understand that Mrs. Gang is the designer.
Posted by: anon at February 28, 2014 10:42 AM
UPDATE: For those celebrating Tishman's engagement of Jeanne Gang to design a tower in San Francisco but lamenting the idea that she'll be constrained by a site that's zoned for 300 feet, we're going to hedge our bet above and offer some hope for additional height.
While the winning developer has yet to be selected, as we reported in December, the Tishman team did attended the pre-submittal meeting for Transbay Block 8 and was expected to bid for the site's development rights. And if it is Block 8 for which Gang has been engaged, she'll have 550-feet with which to work, assuming that Tishman wins the bid.
Posted by: SocketSite at February 28, 2014 11:06 AM
I don't think lower height is a waste of any good architect's talents. Foster, Gehry, SOM, Hadid, etc have all done beautiful, cutting-edge lowrises *and* towers. I'm sure Ms. Gang can also deliver a beautiful building of any size.
Posted by: James at February 28, 2014 12:07 PM
John King says it's a "city-owned lot". That rules out a lot Tishman already owns. I'd betting it's Block 8. And today is the deadline for proposals for that lot which may explain why the article came out today.
Posted by: BTinSF at February 28, 2014 12:11 PM
For either parcel, what a great choice. The Aqua is a beautiful building that adds great vibrancy to the Chicago skyline. We're lucky with this selections. On another note: As an Infinity resident, I'm anticipating the NIMBYism sprouting up from some of our residents...which will be a shame.
Posted by: JG at February 28, 2014 12:42 PM
Taller does not equal or guarantee better architecture.
Shorter does not equate to junk.
Talent is talent. This architect has talent.
Posted by: Futurist at February 28, 2014 12:59 PM
What is the obsession so many posters on socketsite have with wanting buildings to be "taller". No matter what the height, one can expect the "taller please" comments to follow.
Posted by: TallerEnvy at February 28, 2014 3:04 PM
Why taller? Easy: we need to be forward-looking.
SF has a ton of underdeveloped lots that will NEVER be densified. For the rare lots that allow new construction and that are zoned for taller buildings, the market sometimes allows going as high as possible. This means we have a unique opportunity to add the density we need.
Say our current boom lasts 10, 20, 30 years through a series of small crashes and larger booms. Tech could double or triple in size. There will be a need for a large number of housing and commercial units in SF.
Now these new buildings will be there for 50 years. In 20 years if we run out of available space to build what we need then we will regret not having gone full height today. Of course we will not think of it that way, just seeing rising prices causing all sorts of problems (such as the Google bus issues today) and looking for solutions. To create more space developers will have to tear down existing skyscrapers built in the 70s or the 80s and even the 90s to build higher. There will be a lot of hand wringing about this and it won't come cheap.
If the market allows it, we should go as high as we can. We will eventually.
Posted by: lol at February 28, 2014 3:29 PM
forward thinking is great but our new ransit center will have no connection to a rail and we are building a mickey-mouse street car subway to nowhere
This is a backward provincial town
Posted by: Zig at February 28, 2014 4:02 PM
And Zig's point is EXACTLY what concerns me about the future of San Francisco. You cannot create Hong Kong density without Hong Kong transit! We are building a central rail terminal WITHOUT rail connections or trains! We are removing car lanes but then are shocked that traffic increases. We are building more housing without parking and then wonder why parking is so difficult and MUNI is so crowded. We act surprised that companies have to pay private bus vehicles to transport employees, when the answer is really simple, the transit here sucks. Traffic is terrible because many do not have an alternative. That is why Google is expanding in Mountain View, and not moving to Transbay as everyone kept hoping for. As the former director of BART wrote on SFGATE, if San Francisco wants to be the center of the Bay Area, it needs to start building more transit fast before it is too late.
People are worrying about whether buildings are too short and will be undersized 60 years from now, and I am worried we do not have a transit plan in place for all the people who want to live here.
Posted by: TransitFirst at February 28, 2014 4:23 PM
Yes, but if we do not start somewhere we will not get anywhere.
Add more density now, then see politicians and activists get stuck in nightmare traffic and they'll act very quickly.
I know it will be painful for everyone but the vicious circle of "we won't build ours because the other guys are not building theirs" has to be broken. We need more people and we need more transportation.
I have been following some quite big developments in my beloved city of Paris. Now that's the example of a city where density is as high as it's gonna get, except in a few choice areas. One of them being an older expansive railroad yard that is currently being developed to house 10,000+ people along with tons of commercial square footage.
One of the prerequisites of adding this level of density was creating one surface light rail line, plus expanding and connecting a new automated Metro line. Everything will be completed in 2017.
Yes, it is central planning at work, and no, community organizers had no real say in the final choices. But politician want to be re-elected and move ahead in their careers. No-one wants to be the guy who was behind a big stinking mess.
Posted by: lol at February 28, 2014 4:24 PM
So taller equals "forward looking"?
Really? Ridiculous. It's not even forward THINKING.
So, say we "run out of available space to build" in 20 years. Then what happens? I know. The sky will fall.
No. We moderate our building. We slow down. We enjoy the size we are at. We stop wanting to be Hong Kong or Shanghai.
If people really think 300' high is not tall "enough", then they maybe need to move to Manhattan. The continued obsession with taller really baffles me. Some of the deep urban canyons of Manhattan are dark, windy and in shadow much of the time. We don't need to emulate that. I love NY too, but we don't have to become that.
I don't see any developers tearing down the towers of 50 years ago, just because they are not super-talls. Absurd idea that that will happen in the future.
We are SF. We are unique with our own scale, our neighborhoods, our location, our climate, our culture. We can grow in responsible ways.
Quite frankly, I don't get the taller is better solution that lol seems obsessed with.
Posted by: Futurist at February 28, 2014 6:43 PM
You do not know what people will want in 20 years. But tech will be bigger, will employ many more people than today, and their employees will have much more say in the democratic debate which means probably pro-growth policies.
And seriously, the 50-year old buildings we can tear down in 2034 will be the many fugly soulless 1980s buildings that have no real architectural value. The 80s really sucked.
Yes I think higher is better. You have to be old to think the world will and should not grow more. When I talk to older people they say how everything is going to hell. Well, their world, maybe.
But limiting growth because you can't keep up with the world? Please.
Posted by: lol at February 28, 2014 7:24 PM
Posted by: sf at February 28, 2014 8:52 PM
Yea, ok lol. Of course you seem to know what people want in 20 years.
My comments were not really about that. My comments were about maintaining our unique character, as well as growing responsibly. Simply growing taller and taller is a simplistic, if not meaningless goal.
You also seem to want to connect your definition of "ugly" buildings with the need to tear them down. Irrelevant, regardless of what you thought of 80's design.
And you're still off base when you attempt to attach ageism to the convo. And of course I do believe SF should grow, but not in the utterly irresponsible way you seem to choose. And no, the world or SF is hardly going to hell.
And I'm not even saying "limiting growth". My entire discussion was about keeping tabs on our height limits and not simply throwing caution to the wind just be taller than Manhattan.
But it sure seems like SF could go to hell with your proposal for unbridled growth and more and more super talls.
Please. Take time to learn about responsible and controlled urban planning.
Posted by: Futurist at February 28, 2014 9:03 PM
Nailed it. It's the 100 Folsom site across from Infinity.
Posted by: CH at March 1, 2014 7:32 AM
Do you all understand that the comments at this site are ANONYMOUS??? For all anyone knows, all of the comments saying that buildings should be taller might come from a single user who has nothing to do in life other than to post comments on a single topic, for the purpose of getting a "rush" out of the fact that it causes others to exclaim about the frequency of the comments.
Since there is no actual negative impact on any resident of San Francisco about a particular lot not being build to its "full potential", the comments are as nonsensical as they are pervasive.
Posted by: TallerComments at March 3, 2014 11:51 PM
If that's you believe whatever. I have only one handle. It is always convenient to strike down opposing opinions as something coming from an isolated poster.
you win with your unbeatable argument of "responsible". Like underbuilding has worked in the past as the responsible thing to do.
I see growing to our full potential is a necessity. As I said earlier many are ready to take our place if we become irrelevant. But that's just my opinion.
Posted by: lol at March 4, 2014 7:41 AM