City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Civic Design Review Committee - December 16, 2013 - Meeting Minutes

Civic Design Review Committee - December 16, 2013


Monday, December 16, 2013

3:00 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70


Committee Chair Cass Calder Smith called the meeting to order at 3:15 p.m.

  1. Roll Call
    Commissioners Present

    Cass Calder Smith
    Leo Chow
    Dorka Keehn
    Roberto Ordeñana
    Kimberlee Stryker

    Commissioners Absent

    Staff Present
    Jill Manton, Director of Public Art Trust and Special Initiatives
    Sharon Page Ritchie, Commission Secretary
    Matt Pearson, Civic Design Review Intern

  2. San Francisco International Airport Terminal 3 East Improvements Project: Phase 2
    Judi Mosqueda, Project Manager, SFO Design and Construction
    Claudia Luquin, SFO Project Manager

    Gary Brandau and Terence Young, Project Architects, Gensler

    David Promer and Greg Shimizu , Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

    The design team presented their project, including the airport-wide Revenue Enhancement and Customer Hospitality (“REACH”), the priority of the user/passenger experience, and goals regarding customer satisfaction. Noting the success of Terminal 2, they discussed internal and external design standards intended to guide all of the designers, builders and concessionaires in working with the same values.

    The team pointed out changes since the previous presentation, including a penthouse on the roof to house equipment. They noted that because the airport has to remain in operation, the terminal can’t be decommissioned and rebuilt to house the new equipment in the basement. The team also explained that the entire terminal will be rebuilt in a few years, and they didn’t want to make a design statement so distinctive that it would impact the options for the future design of the terminal.

    The team also reviewed a few design variations for the boarding bridge, and the “back-of-house” tenant areas.

    In response to a question from Commissioner Smith, the team explained that the penthouse was kept to as small a footprint as possible to maximize the area for photovoltaic panels.

    The Committee agreed that the penthouse was so big that it was almost like an awkward third story. Acknowledging that it was intended as a temporary solution, they asked for better integration of the design, and an idea for the addition rather than a decorated box.

    The Committee preferred the design with the exterior bezel, requesting that the bezel be extended to the end of the wall rather than ending where the floor level changes in the interior.

    Asked about other options, the team presented different treatments they had considered, including gradients of the painted finish, or of the perforations in the screen. The team also pointed out the difference between daytime and nighttime views of the building, and landside and airside views. The Committee preferred the alternative penthouse design as less like a building on top of a building, and they requested further development of the design to create a gradient appearance, and possibly opening up the corner.

    There was no public comment, and the motion was unanimously approved, as follows:


Motion to approve Phase 2 of the San Francisco International Airport Terminal 3 East Improvements Project, with the conditions of eliminating the number and further development of the penthouse design.


  3. Glen Canyon Recreation Center: Phase 1
    Karen Mauney-Brodek, Project Manager, Recreation and Park Department
    Edmund Shum, Project Architect, Department of Public Works
    Paul De Freitas, Project Designer
    Koa Pickering, Project Landscape Architect

    The team introduced the project, a renovation of the recreation center, the main civic asset in the park. They explained that funding dictated doing the project in several steps rather than all at once. They described the site, and the existing structure, a 1937 WPA project by William Merchant. This was the first major recreation center, and it is a qualified historical resource. The intention is to fully restore the existing architecture and to make the new additions contemporary. They began with an overall idea of expansion and developed the design in response to the community’s expressed needs; one wing is for education, and the other multipurpose, with the auditorium dedicated to community events.

    The team noted that while the structure has many notable features, it also has significant issues, including water intrusion. The structure stands in a flood plain with a culverted creek, which the team hopes to see daylighted. The education wing is open to views of the canyon and its wildlife, and the plan calls for converting the annex, currently holding restrooms and offices, to a teaching kitchen paired with a culinary garden. Other new features include new bleachers and a rock-climbing wall.

    The team pointed out the substantial visibility of the top of the building, and a concern with preventing people climbing on the roof. The canyon covers 65 acres, with only about six acres developed, and the team wanted to develop a restrained landscape for the building, allowing it to read against the wilder forested areas.

    The team reported that the Planning Commission discussed the project at length, and really liked the articulation of solid and glazed areas, preferring some solid elements flanking the entry, and they liked the height difference between the new and existing elements.

    In response to a question from Commissioner Ordeñana about activities, the team replied that the gym is currently used on a drop-in basis. Classes, including climbing classes are really popular, although the City now spends money to take people to a climbing facility; this will be the first City-owned climbing facility.

    Commissioner Smith liked that the team had brought the best element, Douglas fir, from the interior to the exterior of the structure; the team responded that while they would like to use genuine wood for the exterior, Recreation and Parks staff expressed concern about maintenance costs, so the team was looking at porcelain wood or Resysta; Commissioner Chow cautioned against a too-high-tech material that would seem alien to the structure.

    The Committee suggested modifying the slope to avoid the need for ramps and steps, simplifying the design, and discussed changes to restrooms, perhaps adding motion sensor lights to make it evident when someone is there.

    Commissioner Smith suggested that the end wall should either have the same material as the long wall, or else it should be a retaining wall.

    In discussing the windows, Commissioner Chow asked about protecting the interior from ball play outside.

    Commissioner Stryker asked about the impact of daylighting the creek on the meadow; the team replied that it is now largely mud, used informally, often by people playing with dogs. Commissioner Stryker urged the team to work carefully on the transition, noting that the site plan is about the building in the meadow. She also suggested pulling the pathway farther away from the fence and including “hostile” plantings, such as rosa rugosa, along with a groundcover strip.

    Commissioner Chow thought the design was coming along nicely, and had comments on small items. On the north side, he suggested continuing the fascia across the trellised area and eliminating the column. He asked about planting against the building, whether a simple strong line of trees might help to define the space, setting off the rambling building against the rambling canyon.

    Commissioner Chow suggested eliminating the canopy on the deck for a cleaner design, and increasing the size of the canopy at the front entry.

    There was no public comment, and the following motion was unanimously approved.

    Motion to approve Phase 1 of the Glen Canyon Recreation Center, with the conditions of landscaping against the fence to keep people off the roof, making the upper windows at the rear of the building clear glass without columns or mullions, relocating the entrances of the restrooms to the side of the building, and eliminating canopies except at the main entry.

    Commissioner Ordeñana left the meeting at 5:15 p.m.

  4. Staff Report
    Ms. Manton reported that she would be working with Civic Design Review Extern Matt Pearson on revising Civic Design Review streetscape guidelines as to what presenters should show, and asked the Committee for suggested changes. She proposed including anticipated vertical massing, view corridors (including bay views), tree plans, signage plans and street furniture.

    Commissioner Chow thought it important to show how various elements would relate to one another. Commissioner Stryker thought it important to be clear about functions: hospital, residential and commercial uses all have different needs and different impacts on the streetscape. She also suggested some unprogrammed space for pop-ups.

    Commissioner Chow suggested that Phase 2 should show a block, indicating how the guidelines are being used.

    The Committee discussed the fact that some projects are subject to review both by the Arts Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission, and the possibility of holding some joint sessions, and whether historic review should take place earlier in the design process. She proposed to add a question about landmark status and historic district location in the Civic Design Request for Review form.
Commissioner Keehn asked about Transbay Park; Ms. Manton reported that Public Art staff was working with the developer, who had expressed interest in contributing toward public programming in his glass room.

    There was no public comment.


  5. Public Comment
    There was no further public comment.
  6. New Business and Announcements
    There was no new business or announcements.
  7. Adjournment
    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:09 p.m.

    spr 2/28/14

    Language Accessibility

    Translated written materials and interpretation services are available to you at no cost. For assistance, please notify Director of Special Projects and Civic Design Review Program Manager Jill Manton, 415-252-2585,

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    Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Director of Special Projects and Civic Design Review Program Manager Jill Manton, 415-252-2585,