City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Wednesday, March 13, 2002


3:30 p.m.

Bureau of Architecture

4th Floor Conference Room

30 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 3:05 p.m.

  1. Role Call:

    Commissioners present: William Meyer, Rod Freebairn-Smith, Andrea Cochran, Barbara Stauffacher-Solomon, Dede Wilsey, Ralph Guggenheim

    Staff present: Jill Manton, Rommel Taylor

  2. 525 Golden Gate Ave. - Joint Civic Design/Visual Arts Informational Meeting

    Edgar Lopez, Project Manager, DPW BOA, introduced the project and project team. Mr. Lopez explained that the goal of this joint informational meeting was to present the most current design ideas for feedback from both committees. Mr Lopez introduced David Hobstetter to present the design.

    David Hobstetter, Principal, KMD briefly reviewed the previous design schemes. Mr. Hobstetter explained that the criticism from the last Civic Design meeting focused on the design of the southern facade. He continued to explain that the team had directed their redesign efforts on this portion of the building.

    Ryan Stevens, KMD, explained that there were three primary design changes. The first is the massing. He explained that the curve along the southern facade had been accentuated to read more clearly and relate to the adjacent state building. The southern facade had been carved to create "benches" that also relate to the massing of the existing state building. In terms of sustainable strategies, the glazing on the southern facade will be fitted with integral photovoltaic panels that will generate power for the building. A "thermal chimney" will also be incorporated into the south facade. This glass enclosed structure will draw heat from the building reducing the load on HVAC systems. The third modification was to the shading system along the south facade. Mr Stevens explained that the strategy was to down play the horizontal reading of the shading system and to create a columnar expression. Stone will be used to accentuate the columnar expression as well as relate to the surroundeing buildings.

    Miles Stevens, Stevens, explained that the overall design was developed as a sculptural response to the existing architectural precedents found at the civic center.

    Commissioner Cochran asked how the shading devices would be cleaned.

    Ryan Stevens explained that there are several strategies that could be incorporated, one of which would be to treat the glass with some subtle pattern that would mask the accumulation of dirt.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon commented that she supported the new design. It is much more elegant than the previously presented schemes.

    Jill Manton suggested that before the discussion became too in-depth that the artists speak about their proposals. Ms. Manton introduced Ned Kahn.

    Mr Kahn explained that his site is located inside the "thermal chimney". He explained that he was interested in revealing the invisible kinetic forces that were happening inside of the chimney. He described his project as a stack of 13 "turbines" which would react to the thermal forces within the chimney. These "turbines" would be 7' in diameter and attached to a spindle which would allow them to rotate freely. The "turbines would be suspended from cables. The material would probably be aluminum. Mr. Kahn continued to explain that these "turbines" would spin at different rates depend ending on where they were located within the chimney. This variety would create a subtle play of light behind the glass facade in addition to helping move the air through the chimeny.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon commented that this was an excellent idea.

    Commissioner Meyer also commented that it was a very elegant and smart proposal.

    Commissioner Guggenheim commented that the proposal was a beautiful and well thought out design

    Ms, Manton introduced the second artist, Anna Valentina Murch. She explained that the original site where Ms. Murch had planned to do her piece had been eliminated from the design. Ms. Murch would be presenting conceptual ideas for two alternative sites: the glass along the south facade or the interior of the campanile at the north facade.

    Ms. Murch explained that she was interested in conceptual ideas that highlighted the "greeness" of this green building. She explained that she was also very interested in the different qualities of light happening on the south and north facades. Ms. Murch explained that minimal light penetration was the goal along the south facade. She proposed etching the profiles of plant forms on the photovoltaic panels. These etchings would have a dual function of reducing the overall penetration of light into the building and of casting shadows of plant forms suggesting a living garden. The second proposal was to incorporate living plants along the interior trusses of the campanile along the north facade. Maximum light penetration was the goal at this portion of the building to allow interior illumination and warmth. Ms Murch explained that a more tactile strategy would be employed on this side of the building. She also described an idea using colored glass on the facade of the campanile.

    Commissioner Meyer expressed preference for locating Ms. Murches work in the north campanile instead of on the southern facade. He explained that there would be a nice conceptual symmetry with the two art pieces in the building's tower elements. He also expressed that the idea of using colored glass might work. He commented that he liked the idea of a lantern.

    Commissioner Cochran expressed concern that the plants may have trouble growing indoors and would caution against using living plants. She also commented that the slanted roof along the southern facade was too reminiscent of a mansard roof.

    Commissioner Stauffacher-Solomon agreed with commissioner Cochran about the indoor planting. She was more in favor of using the colored glass or some type of lighting treatment as an idea.

    Commissioner Freebairn-Smith commented that a subtle frit or colored glass would be appropriate

  3. Adjournment

    Meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.