Civic Design Review Committee - May 16, 2016 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
May 16, 2016 - 4:00pm
401 Van Ness Avenue, Rm 125
san francisco, CA 94102


Monday, May 16, 2016
4:00 p.m.
401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 125


Committee Chair Cass Calder Smith called the meeting to order at 2:06 p.m.

  1. Roll Call
    Commissioners Present
    Cass Calder Smith, Chair
    Dorka Keehn
    Abby Sadin Schnair
    Kimberlee Stryker
    Paul Woolford

    ​Commissioners Absent
    Kathrin Moore, ex officio

    Staff Present
    Jill Manton, Director of Public Art Trust and Special Initiatives

    Aleta Lee, Program Associate Public Art Trust and Special Initiatives
    Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs

    Jill Manton requested that item number six and eight be switched on the agenda. This change was accepted by the Committee.

  2. Public Comment
    There was no public comment.
  3. Consent Calendar 
    There was no public comment, and the Consent Calendar was approved unanimously as follows.

    1.     Motion to approve Phase 3 of the Alameda Creek Recapture Project.

  4. Moscone Expansion Project: Post Phase #3 Change
    Brook Mebrahtu, Project Manager, Public Works
    Craig Hartman, Project Architect, Skidmore, Owings, Merill (SOM)
    Kevin Conger, Landscape Architect, CMG Landscape Architecture
    Mark Cavagnero, Associate Architect, Cavagnero and Associates
    Commissioner Schnair recused herself from discussion of this project because her husband is a partner of SOM.
    City Architect Edgar Lopez presented the Post Phase #3 changes that were made on the Moscone Expansion project as a result of value engineering. The plan of the project and overall composition of the south building remains the same. The updates to the project include 1) the reduction of the south building cloud canopy and 2) the deletion of north lobby trellis and reduction of green wall at Howard Street Plaza. The cloud canopy was reduced from twenty-five feet to twenty feet. The design team shared that the reduction of these parts of the building have both positive and negative implications, but the budget needs to be kept in mind without disturbing the main function of the building. 
    The Committee suggested adding a minimal taut detail, perhaps a thin rail on top of the Moscone Center signage, which would complement and echo the height of the other side of the street. The Committee also voiced concern about the effect of the green wall behind the adjacent public artwork. They wanted to be sure there would be consistency of green walls throughout the campus.
    The Committee proposed that the project come back for an informal to review the changes and then put on the Consent Calendar for approval.
    There was no further public comment.

  5. Better Market Street: Informational/ Conceptual Review
    This project was not previously reviewed.
    Ophelia Lau, Project Designer, Public Works
    Simon Bertrang, Project Manager, Public Works
    John Dennis, Landscape Architect, Public Works

    Commissioner Schnair returned to the meeting room at 4:30 p.m.
    Simon Bertrang presented an overview of the Better Market Street Project, which proposes a comprehensive program to reconstruct this transit corridor and create more space for the pedestrian realm. This project would update 2.2 miles of Market and Mission Street, along with introducing rapid bus service, bike track and loading relocation and expansion, private vehicle restrictions, and sidewalk width adjustments. The team provided three alternatives, favoring Option A which is a Market Street shared lane and Mission Cycle Track. They shared the project timeline, stating that they are partly through environmental design and the draft Environmental Impact Report. In addition, they are anticipating a two and half year design schedule before completing final design documents.

    The Committee discussed the impact of the project, including the effects on the business and economy of the streets, traffic and cyclists/pedestrians collisions, and the aesthetic of the bus shelters. The funding of the project and the 2% requirement for the arts was also a topic of discussion. Bertrang stated that their initial funding was from the Proposition 8 Transportation Street Improvement Bond from 2014. He also explained that there will be a significant art component in this project; however, he was not certain that the 2% for the Arts applied to the project. Arts Commission staff disagreed. A City Attorney’s opinion will be sought regarding this matter.
    There was no public comment.
  6.  SEP Primary Power Feed and Primary Switchgear Upgrades: Phase #1
    Kent Ford and Tiffany Gong, Project Designers, Public Works
    Desai Jignesh, Project Manager, SF PUC
    Kent Ford, Architect, Public Works
    Gavin McMillan, Landscape Architect, Hargreaves Associates

    Kent Ford presented the project, showcasing the surrounding buildings, site plan, existing conditions, floor plans and supporting imagery. During their last review, the Committee commented that their design was too fussy. This time, the design team provided three options that simplified the design and added materials that were more consistent with the existing surroundings. Of the three options exhibited, Option A, which had the most simplified scheme, was recommended by the design team.

    The Committee was appreciative that the team was able to simplify the design and have the building design be appropriate to its function. The one concern was the horizontal slot near the top of the front of the building. The Committee suggested putting a ventilation grill as birds or pests could hide out in that deep ledge.

    Kent Ford thanked Commisioner Cass Calder Smith for his input and design guidance on the Civic Design Review Committee for the past eight years.

    There was no public comment, and the motion was unanimously approved as follows.
    Motion to approve Phase #1 of the SEP Primary Power Feed and Primary Switchgear Upgrades Project.

  7. SEP New Headworks Facility: Informational/ Conceptual Review
    Victor Shih, Project Designer, SF PUC
    Jignesh Desai, Project Manager, SF PUC
    Michael Willis, Architect, MWA Architects
    Gavin McMillan, Landscape Architect, Hargreaves Associates
    The design team discussed the project, presenting the project schedule, existing conditions, neighborhood context, and facility programming. The team also provided multiple design opportunities and strategies throughout the facility, such as the use of expressive facades, using texture and patterns for visual interests at the pedestrian level, and the integration of educational features and public art. For the side of the building along the street, the design team also indicated areas for landscaping opportunities for drought resistance, storm water retention, and art and education installations in the public realm. The team ended the presentation with a conceptual rendering of the facility and expressed interest coming back in July for Phase #1.
    The Committee suggested that rather than skewing the facility to a more traditional architecture, the design team should articulate the components of the campus and bias the design towards a more contemporary or reductive architecture that has the same kind of complexity and scale break that is introduced to the street and person. The Committee continued to say that the team should present an architectural design that doesn’t necessarily present a façade of a different kind of building than the function behind it.
    There was no public comment.
  8. SEP Biosolids Digester Facilities Project: Informational/ Conceptual Review
    This project was not previously reviewed.
    Rosanna Tse, Project Designer, SF PUC
    Carolyn Chiu, Project Manager, SF PUC
    Michael Willis, Architect, MWA Architects
    Linda Cyra-Korsgaard, Landscape Architect, ch2m
    The design team presented the new location, programming, and landscaping of the Biosolids Digesters Facilities project. The team also discussed design strategies and concepts, favoring functional expression and bold forms and materials. For the Jerrold Avenue side of the building, their design concepts considered pedestrian scale and texture, views in and out, light features, and an education plaza. For Quint Lane, which is the internal outdoor gathering space, their design concepts considered public art, tour routes, and safe pedestrian paths.
    The Committee stressed how the project was a golden opportunity to think on a slightly larger urban scale and to reshape the San Francisco experience with this campus. As the city is spending $200 million dollars on the overall Sewer Improvement plan, which encompasses a five block area, there is a great opportunity for this project to also benefit the community and create public enhancement. The Committee also suggested that there should be a possible streetscape relationship to the Traffic Company and Forensics Lab building being built nearby.
    There was no public comment.
  9. Visual Arts Committee Update 
    Commissioner Keehn reported that the SFO Administrative building will have a suspended public artwork in the lobby with a budget of $400,000. She also presented the art proposal for the Chinatown Streetscape Improvement Project. The artwork is titled “Auspicious Clouds” by Michael Arcega and consists of functional sculptures that can also be used for seating. Lastly, she shared that the Visual Arts Committee will be looking at the Southwest Terminal and begin placement of art there. 
  10. Staff Report
    Jill Manton, San Francisco Arts Commission staff, reported that there has been an increase in volume of projects needing Civic Design Review for informals and public meetings. She asked that the Commissioners consider strategies to deal with this influx. 
    The Committee agreed that projects would be presented at informal meetings at a case-by-case basis, and first filtered through Chair Cass Calder Smith and Jill Manton to decide if this was a necessary step. Public meetings would be extended from 2-6pm or longer and guidelines will reflect these changes.
  11. Selection of Project Images for Civic Design Review Report at next Arts Commission Meeting
    The Moscone Expansion Project was selected to be presented for the June Full Commission meeting. The design team will be asked to present an overview of the project with a maximum of twenty minutes for presentation. 
  12. New Business & Announcements
    Commissioner Cass Calder Smith announced his pending resignation. He will serve on the Committee until August 15th, which will be his last Civic Design Review public meeting.
  13. Adjournment 
    There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.
    posted 5/24/16, 5:00 p.m., akl
    approved 6/6/16

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, 415-252-2226,

我們將為閣下提供免費的書面翻譯資料和口譯服務。如需協助,Director of Special Projects and Civic Design Review Program Manager Jill Manton, 415-252-2226,

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, 415-252-2226,

Ang mga materyales na nakasalin sa ibang wika at ang mga serbisyong tagapagsalin sa wika ay walang bayad. Para sa tulong, maaring i-contact si Director of Special Projects and Civic Design Review Program Manager Jill Manton, 415-252-2226,