Civic Design Review Committee - August 17, 2020 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
August 17, 2020 - 2:00pm


Monday, August 17, 2020
2:00 p.m.
Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing

Draft Minutes 

    Commissioner Stryker called the meeting to order at 2:03 p.m.

  1. Roll Call

    Commissioners Present

    Kimberlee Stryker, Chair
    Yakuh Askew
    Mary Jung
    Dorka Keehn
    Abby Sadin Schnair
    Debra Walker

    Commissioners Absent:
    Paul Woolford
  2. Public Comment

    There was no public comment.

    Commissioner Woolford joined the meeting at 2:24 p.m.
  3. Bay Corridor Transmission and Distribution Project: Phase 1 and 2
    Jamie Beckman, Project Designer, Merrill Morris
    David Myerson, Project Manager, SF Water
    Cathy Merrill, Landscape Architect, Merrill Morris

    The project team noted the location of this site as the intersection of Davidson Avenue and Quint Street. The project will occupy approximately 13,000 square feet. The substation will transform PG&E power and distribute it to a number of institutional clients, including to local wastewater facilities and a couple of commercial clients.The team reviewed the perimeter wall and fire rated barrier, the new concrete sidewalk, the vehicular and staff gates, the planting palette and the lettering design. The project will also account for sea level rise by raising the site and the electrical equipment, and for storm water management by creating and/or replacing around 5,000 square feet of impervious surface. There will be no public access to the facility. The project team proceeded to address the Civic Design Review Committee’s comments from the project’s Conceptual presentation. The Committee had been concerned about the tall height of the surrounding wall, and had suggested that the team soften its impact with more visual interest through landscaping or a green wall. The Committee suggested trees that could shorten the appearance of the wall. In response, the team reduced the perimeter wall height from 20 to 12 feet tall. Planting has been added as a foundation to soften the wall with accent plants at entries. Trees have not been provided due to safety and security concerns. The Committee had also expressed concern regarding the design impact of the substation along Davidson Avenue. In response, the team added a frieze-type element of precast concrete panels with an enhanced surface finish pattern along Davidson Avenue. This pattern continues for three panels along the railroad tracks, and then transitions to standard concrete finish.  Lastly, the Committee had suggested that the team look at the nearby facilities to see how the facade could be treated in color, texture, and patterning to relate to the context of the neighborhood. The team selected material colors, patterns and textures that have been carefully selected to reflect the surrounding industrial context, specifically concrete and steel in variations of gray similar to the Bruce Flynn Pump Station. The “dot” pattern is inspired from SEP Campus and Headworks. The team then described the new architectural precast concrete wall, and displayed a color and finish example. The team also presented options for exterior signage and graphics that will consist of a metal panel with a brushed finish, a number cutout, and a panel and lightbox behind it. The planting palette will include purple sage, large cape rush, elk blue California gray rush, canyon prince wild rye, and fox tail agave. All plants are native or adapted to the region and to low water use. An automatic irrigation system will be provided for all plant areas utilizing a Smart ET weather based controller.

    The Commissioners suggested that the team ensure that the illumination/lightbox for the graphics be high quality. They also expressed concern regarding the Agave plant, given that it will be in a Northeast exposure.

    There was no public comment.

    Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Keehn moved to approve the motion, as presented.

    The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
    Ayes: Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Walker, Woolford, Stryker

    Motion to approve Phase 1 and 2 of the Bay Corridor Transmission and Distribution Project. 
  4. Herz Playground Recreation Center Project: Conceptual
    Marsha Maytum, Project Designer, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
    Alexis Ward, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park
    Architect, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
    Landscape Architect, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture

    The project team began by introducing the site of the project— it is part of a new development at Sunnydale and borders McLaren Park. The project will bring a community garden, playground, clubhouse, and community center to the project. The Herz Recreation Center Building will include a large indoor gym, a spacious lobby, and a multipurpose space. It will be around 11,800 square feet. The team will surround the building with a shady grove of trees and a fitness terrace. The team presented the Sunnydale community with two building options, and used their feedback to choose the option that included a front porch for a fitness program. The gym’s proximity to Hahn Street promotes access and safety. The east-west orientation allows maximization of daylight on the south face of the building. The team hopes to create a building that is timeless in aesthetic and duration. The entry will be oriented around the existing Cypress tree. The team presented three renderings that demonstrated the gateway connection to McLaren Park from the Herz Recreation Center.

    The Commissioners commended the project presentation. Commissioners questioned the orientation of the site. The team responded that the project hopes to be Net-Zero in energy usage, and has organized the site for solar energy. The Commissioners also asked about health restrictions given COVID-19, and the team responded that they will keep their space flexible. The Commissioners also asked that the team present a brief that describes how the project buildings will relate to the concurrently built housing project. The Commissioner commended the transparency in the buildings as well as the  focus on sustainability. The Commissioners also asked for the architecture to embrace the other buildings at the corner, even though they are under different jurisdiction. They also asked the team to consider an actual front porch in front of the building, perhaps using an extended roof. Commissioners also asked the team to consider activating the space between the buildings to include performance, even if it is sloped. The Commissioners also noted that the artwork included in the Art Enrichment budget could reflect the welcoming nature of the project. Lastly, the Commissioners asked the team to emphasize the axial relationship between the corner of the street and the view into McLaren Park. They also asked that the team use plants to expand the wildlife and habitat of McLaren Park. The Commissioners also asked that the team clarify which portions are lawn, play space, and usable. The Commissioners would like for the fitness equipment to be very comfortable and attractive so that it is actually used.

    There was no public comment.

    Commissioner Walker left the meeting at 3:32 p.m.
  5. New CDD Headquarters at 2000 Marin Project: Conceptual
    Greta Jones, Project Designer, SF DPW
    Shelby Campbell, Project Manager, SF PUC
    Lourdes Garcia,  Project Architect, SF DPW
    Tony Esterbrooks, Landscape Architect, SF DPW

    The team introduced the the project as the new headquarters for the City Distribution Division. They operate the city’s water systems, including the main pipeline, pump stations, and reservoir. The new location will be at 2000 Marin Street on the eastern edge of the city, along the Islais Creek watershed. The proposed new site will occupy 7.8 acres. The team described the sites qualities, and noted that its soil bearing capacity was best on the west side. There is no access from Cesar Chavez Street to the site. The campus entrance will be on Marin Street. The team noted that the parking garage will be six floors. The landscape architect noted that the landscape intends to humanize the very industrial campus. The design team hopes to capture and reprocess stormwater generated on the campus. In order to capture runoff from impervious systems and to maximize pervious surfaces, the team will feature a a greenroom on admin building, retention basins in the parking garage, and a central bioswale and permeable paving in the courtyard area.

    The Commissioners noted the importance of the site intersection, and asked whether there is a way to limit the parking structure from being the foreground of the intersection.  Perhaps the parking structure could be wider and lower to improve sight lines and circulation. The Commissioners also noted the project has a large art budget, which should not be used to mask a building. The Commissioners noted that by consolidating or rearranging some of the site’s buildings, it may improve the campus’s feeling and reduce vehicular circulation. Commissioners would also like for the project to have trees along the east side of the site.

    There was no public comment.
  6. SVWTP Polymer Feed Facility Project: Phase 1
    Reggie Stump, Project Designer and Architect, SF DPW
    Bryan Dessaure, Project Manager, SF Water

    The team introduced the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant Polymer Feed Facility as a plant that treats local water supply located in the Alameda River Shed. The facility is 50 miles southeast of San Francisco and is located on the low-lying grand of the Sunol Valley. The site entrance is on Calaveras Road, through a secure gate. There are existing underground pipes that come from the sedimentation building. In response, the buildings are arranged so that they are not over those pipes. The polymer building will consist of green metal siding, concrete wainscot, and ample sky lights. These buildings match the existing administrative buildings, chem-lab building, and sedimentation building. The roof of the building is meant to emulate the surrounding hilly landscape. The louvres are located on the west and east facade to allow for ventilation.

    The Commissioners asked about the door on the west facade of the building. They also asked about the native grasses proposed for the project, and asked the team to ensure that any introduced grasses are native and are able to grow alongside the existing non-native grasses. The Commissioners would also like for the team to add a spectacular live oak to their plain.

    There was no public comment.

    Commissioner Woolford, seconded by Commissioner Schnair moved to approve the motion, as presented.

    The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
    Ayes: Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Woolford, Stryker

    Motion to approve Phase 1 of the SVWTP Polymer Feed Facility Project with the following contingencies 1) to explore the possibility of reducing the door and moving it to the other side, 2) to soften the burn to match the existing topography to the area, 3) to add one live oak tree (at least a five gallon box size tree), 4) to investigate the proposed native grasses to ensure that they are native, 5) to carefully position the venting of the facade, 6) to explore the stacking effect  and make sure that the pitch of the roofs are performative, and 7) to explore the possibility of rainwater drainage and where it might go.
  7. Mission Branch Library Renovation Project: Phase 2 and 3
    Andrew Sohn, Project Designer, Manager, and Architect, SF DPW
    Tony Esterbrooks, Landscape Architect, SF DPW

    The project team commented on the history and preservation of the Mission Branch Library , as well as its location on at the corner 24th St and Bartlett St between Valencia St and Mission St. It is bordered by a church and residences to the south and east. Their property line faces sidewalk. The team proceeded to acknowledge the Civic Design Review Committee’s previous comments for the team’s Phase 1 presentation. The team’s goal is to create a flexible space that can accommodate variated programming the in the library’s reading room. The sidewalk pavers and reading room pavers will use city standard colors and will be made of basalite. There will be a planter area on each side of the reading room. Some of the existing trees will remain and will have pedestrian lighting added around them. The planters added on the exterior of the building will reduce the impervious surfaces. For the planting palette, the team is considering four season plants that are fragrant, tough, and not too demanding of water. Outdoor furniture will include benches, moveable furniture, metal planting edges, and an interactive chime. The team then presented two options for the surrounding fence— a signal gray or a bronze to match the architectural metal work currently on the building. The team will implement solar panels on the building’s roof. The West elevation of the building will consist of a concrete base and metal panels. There will be a hyphenated datum between the historic and new portions oft he library, thus addressing the Committee’s previous comments for the building to have a more planar expression.

    The Commissioners congratulated the team on their thoughtful presentation. They commended the team’s integration of modern additions with the existing historic building. The Commissioners asked to discuss the landscaping on 24th Street. They suggested to remove the landscaping, or for the planting to be more classical, perhaps by implementing a single plant variation, or only a couple of plant species. They mentioned that the planting currently feels more residential than civic. The Commissioners also asked if the bicycle parking could be inside the gate for security. The Commissioners also asked about the material of the pavers.

    Public Comment:
    An employee of the Mission Branch Library noted that the children room is very close to the gap where the window slits are. He mentioned that there are people urinating near the glass, and there have been parties in the outdoor space. He said that a separation with the building might intonate that the building is for the library and not for other activities.

    Commissioner Keehn, seconded by Commissioner Wolford moved to approve the motion, as presented.

    The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
    Ayes: Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Woolford, Stryker

    Motion to approve Phase 2 and 3 of the Mission Branch Library Renovation Project with the following contingencies 1) that it maintain the planting design as is except for that it be pulled back from the doors so that there is more space and 2) that the planting be more of a single, or monolithic, plant choice so that it is consistent with a single type of vegetation gesture.
  8. Visual Arts Committee Update

    Commissioner Dorka Keehn, Visual Arts Committee

    Commissioner Keehn presented Dana Hemenway’s sculpture at the SFO Airport, the artwork by Nori Sato at the PUC Southwest Powerplant, and Walter Hood’s selected work BOW for Fire Station #35 by the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

    There was no public comment.
  9. Staff Report

    There was no staff report.

    There was no public comment.
  10. New Business and Announcements

    Commissioner Stryker noted the drop in MUNI ridership, and the rise of single-driver traffic. She proposed a joint program between SFMTA and the San Francisco Arts Commission to encourage MUNI usage.

    Commissioner Stryker also noted that the San Francisco Mayor’s office asked for a list of licensed designers that will be able to join the CDR Committee, in case a replacement needs to happen on the Committee.

    There was no public comment.

  11. Adjournment 

    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:18 p.m. 


LIR posted the agenda 8/31 at 12:51 p.m.


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Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Commission Secretary Alyssa Ventre, 415-252-2255,