City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Monday, January 28, 2002


3:00 p.m.

Suite 70, Conference Room

25 Van Ness Ave.

San Francisco 94102

Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, Ste 240, during regular business hours.


The meeting commenced at 3:10 p.m.

  1. Role Call:

    Commissioners present: William Meyer, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Barbara Stauffacher-Solomon, Andrea Cochran, Stanlee Gatti

    Staff present: Richard Newirth, Nancy Gonchar, Rommel Taylor


    Dan Soine, Director of Public Relations, introduced Gail Cannon, Financial Director and John R. Mc Cullough, Director of Human Resources. Mr. Soine briefly described the history and curricula of the school. He explained that he was coming before the commission regarding the proposed removal of two granite slab benches in front of the school. Mr. Soine explained that the benches were being used for drug dealing and usage, sleeping and loitering. He also explained that there was an inadequate police presence to deal with these issue. They are requesting that the commission approve the removal of the benches.

    Commissioner Gatti informed Mr. Soine that the commission was very familiar with the issues of the benches. Mr. Gatti opened the floor for discussion.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon commented that she was in favor of keeping the benches. She commented that they were similar in concept to the ribbon along the Embarcadero.

    Commissioner Meyer commented that if the presence of the benches is a direct nuisance to the daily function of the school then he is in favor of removing the benches. Mr. Meyer asked if the misuse of the benches was an enforcement issue.

    Mr. Soine agreed that better enforcement would reduce the misuse of the benches, however the benches were a major part of the puzzle. He explained that the school had considered designing and installing an art piece that would deter inappropriate use of the benches.

    Commissioner Meyer asked if the Department of Public Works are supporting the proposal.

    Mr. Soine explained that DPW was ready to do the work once approval was granted by the Arts Commission.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that he would not offer a vote of support to remove the benches. He explained that poverty and homelessness are societal issues not solved by the removal of a couple of benches. He commented that it was the choice of the Art Institutes International to move into a neighborhood populated by individuals dealing with these societal issues. Mr. Freebairn-Smith commented that it was disheartening to see such an insensitive proposal from an institution which graduates individuals who will probably face a life of financial struggle as working artists. He reiterated that he would not vote in favor of removing the benches.

    Commissioner Cochran agreed with the comments of Commissioner Freebairn-Smith. She questioned how effective the removal of the benches would be in alleviating the problems.

    Gail Cannon, Financial Director, explained the entering and leaving the building was sometimes a problem. She explained that there is constant gambling and drug trafficking going on in and around the entrance. Ms. Cannon felt that the issue was not one of homelessness but illegal activity.

    John McCullough, Director of Human Resources, explained that students, staff and faculty have reported being attacked and accosted by individuals loitering around the school. Mr. McCullough reiterated that the issue was one of crime not homelessness.

    Motion: Stanlee Gatti
    William Meyer, Barbara Stauffacher-Solomon, Andrea Cochran, Stanlee Gatti
    No- Rod Freebairn-Smith

    PHASE 1,2,3

    Roger Wong, project manager, DPW BOA introduced the project team. Mr. Wong described the scope of the project as an interior renovation and ADA ramp addition.

    Motion: William Meyer

    PHASE 2 & 3

    Edmund Shum, project architect, DPW BOA introduced the project team. Mr. Shum briefly reviewed the scope of the project and the new perspective drawings showing how the pump stations would fit into the context of the neighborhood.

    Motion: William Meyer


    Nancy Gonchar explained that there had been no change made to the project and that it was coming before the commission for an administrative phase 3 approval

    Motion: Stanlee Gatti

    PHASE 1& 2

    Robert MacDonald, project manager, Rec and Park introduced Gar Trupelli, President of the Beach Chalet. Mr. MacDonald explained that the landmarks commission had reviewed and approved the proposed renovation.

    Gar Trupelli briefly described the history of the project. He explained that the original proposal was over budget. They have since retained the services of the Smith Group to revise the design. He introduced Drew Padilla and Michael Nolan of the Smith Group to present the project.

    Drew Padilla, project architect, the Smith Group described the major design concepts. The project is a new deck which will provide an open air dining area for the restaurant. The wood post and beam structure is fabricated on a raised concrete platform. The program includes two new support structures which will house storage and preparation space for outdoor dining. The primary building materials are wood, concrete, stone and acrylic.

    Commissioner Cochran commented that the stone treatment seemed out of context since there was no stone used anywhere else on the existing building. She commented that if the stone is to be used it should be thicker. It seems like a veneer. Ms. Cochran questioned the geometry of the planters. She felt that the design was much to busy.

    Commissioner Meyer agreed with Commissioner Cochran's statements. He commented that it would be more appropriate and cheaper to use stucco instead of stone. He also commented that he didn't agree with the use of flimsy plastic as a wind shield for the deck.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon commented that the addition would be stronger if it responded more literally to the architectural precedents of the existing building. She commented that the Arts and Crafts aesthetic of the addition clashed with the Beaux Arts aesthetic of the existing building.

    Mr. Trupelli explained that they had come before the commission before and the comments were exactly the opposite. The commissioners felt that it shouldn't mimic the architectural style of the existing building.

    Commissioner Gatti commented that the design was completely inappropriate for this building. He commented that the proposed design offered no relationship to the existing architectural style in terms of form or materiality.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that the lack of vegetation in the perspective rendering hurts the presentation. He explained that there is a wonderful architectural tradition that uses the trellis/stucco wall typology. He sited Eric Gill and the architecture of Tuscany. Mr. Freebairn-Smith commented that the budget is always a concern but felt that the design had been trivialized by these concerns.

    Mr. Truppelli commented that the design was conceived form a service standpoint. The original design did not work in terms of service. The scheme was also over budget. He explained that in terms of aesthetics the columns were too massive and diminished the feeling of an open air restaurant.

    Mr. Padilla asked if the commissioners could summarize the major issues they have with the presented scheme.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that the project should have more visual weight, a greater sense of material connection to the existing building and that formal site planning should be explored.

    Ms. Gonchar suggested that the team schedule an informal meeting with up to two commissioners if they wanted more feedback before they presented to the entire review committee.

  7. Adjournment

    Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.