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-   -   SAN FRANCISCO | Oceanwide Center (50 First St) | 910 & 636 FT | 61 & 54 Floors (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=185537)

Reminiscence Oct 7, 2010 1:48 AM

Oh wow, what a nice surprise! I'm trying to picture the buildings in my head, but from what I see so far, it looks like a nice plan. I'm sure SOM will release something no less than stunning. It'll also be nice to see these new buildings built right next to existing small and older buildings, the contrast will be interesting. I like what I see so far, and yes, this has plenty of potential is it's not scaled back too much.

NOPA Oct 7, 2010 3:10 AM

AMAZEBALLS! This would be fantastic! However, given that this is San Francisco, and they search for every possible reason not to allow any ne construction, I am skeptical about this actually happening. If it does, I'm betting the towers end up half as tall and completed in no sooner than 2025.

For whatever its worth, thank god Chris Daly is termed out! That idiot wouldn't approve an LEED platnum building even if it was 100% low income housing! At least that is encouraging.

pawelsf Oct 7, 2010 4:53 AM

the design of the undulating towers is definitely something san francisco needs to add to the variety of building stock in the skyline. i really hope this project pushes through.

however, the thing that really annoys me seeing the plans though is survival of the two ugly, tiny buildings that gets in the way of this development. it would have been better if the developer had a big enough plot to build a tall tower to make use of such prime corner location. these boneheaded owners must be some secret quadrillionaires that can't ever be bothered with a buyout:rolleyes:

plinko Oct 7, 2010 5:00 AM

^I disagree entirely. This type of patchwork quilting of blocks creates all those odd nooks and quirks that make cities truly interesting. If they could assemble the whole block, it would likely be a much more open and yet imposing and unfriendly site plan. I think this could end up being accidentally wonderful.

pawelsf Oct 7, 2010 5:17 AM

But the plot is a spitting distance from the city's future tallest towers!! It's not the right place to insist your little scheme. Granted, if they were in the middle of the block, I say okay fine. Besides, it's not like we don't have that scheme you insist on following here. Perhaps you haven't visited Second Street? I'm for preservation as well, but not to the point where nothing new/better-looking and more-environmentally-friendly-towers-that-will-help-bring-a-much-needed-revitalization (whew!) of my city's financial district can be built.

plinko Oct 7, 2010 7:06 AM

I'm not insisting anything. I'm simply saying that small streetscape buildings are important too. You may not think so, but these in particular don't belong to you do they? In the absence of the ability to clear the superblock and create some 'tower with a plaza out front', the architects have had to be extremely creative in their integration. And I think they've done it quite interestingly.

I'm not in favor of preservation for preservation's sake. And as an architect, I've certainly had my fair share of arguments won and lost on the subject.

I stand by my statement that these small 'leftovers' ,if you will, can create something accidentally wonderful. 50 years from now, people will look at the block and say 'what an interesting juxtaposition'. It's organic city development at its finest.

fflint Oct 7, 2010 4:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plinko (Post 5007417)
I'm not insisting anything. I'm simply saying that small streetscape buildings are important too. You may not think so, but these in particular don't belong to you do they? In the absence of the ability to clear the superblock and create some 'tower with a plaza out front', the architects have had to be extremely creative in their integration. And I think they've done it quite interestingly.

I'm not in favor of preservation for preservation's sake. And as an architect, I've certainly had my fair share of arguments won and lost on the subject.

I stand by my statement that these small 'leftovers' ,if you will, can create something accidentally wonderful. 50 years from now, people will look at the block and say 'what an interesting juxtaposition'. It's organic city development at its finest.

Agreed. San Francisco has far too many sterile plazas and undifferentiated blocks of bland modern office towers. This couplet of old, small buildings (which appear to be attached in the middle of the block even though they front different streets) will help the new super-block retain a human sense of time, scale and place.

botoxic Oct 7, 2010 9:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 5006027)
How is SF's office market right now?

The last I saw, SF's office vacancy rate was about 18%, the same as the national average. It would be difficult for this project and Transbay to come online at the same time. I'm curious to see if both hold off for a while, or if they race to see which one can finish first.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CyberEric (Post 5005185)
Would these likely come after the Transbay tower or before? I know that is a difficult question, but I figured someone might have an idea.

Both projects have yet to go through the EIR process, but both are also at heights encouraged by the planning department - which may help navigate the notoriously difficult SF politics. At this point, if either project significantly stepped up to the plate, it could win this race. I think it would be cool to get a new tallest with 50 First, to be topped by Transbay shortly thereafter.

Also in the mix, though not in contention for tallest, is the ~750-footer at 181 Fremont.

SFView Oct 8, 2010 5:18 AM

While we wait for renderings of 50 First Street, here are somewhat similar designs for Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza, Parcel A also by SOM. There are also just 33 feet taller at 948 feet.

Source: http://www.som.com/content.cfm/jiang...plaza_parcel_a

Quote:

...Derived from studies of molten metal, the towers' form and exterior walls were developed using parametric modeling software.
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m...tralPlaza3.jpg

blade_bltz Oct 8, 2010 6:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plinko (Post 5007417)
I stand by my statement that these small 'leftovers' ,if you will, can create something accidentally wonderful. 50 years from now, people will look at the block and say 'what an interesting juxtaposition'. It's organic city development at its finest.

I'm surprised this even needs to be argued!

brickhugger Oct 8, 2010 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by botoxic (Post 5008188)
The last I saw, SF's office vacancy rate was about 18%, the same as the national average. It would be difficult for this project and Transbay to come online at the same time. I'm curious to see if both hold off for a while, or if they race to see which one can finish first.


Both projects have yet to go through the EIR process, but both are also at heights encouraged by the planning department - which may help navigate the notoriously difficult SF politics. At this point, if either project significantly stepped up to the plate, it could win this race. I think it would be cool to get a new tallest with 50 First, to be topped by Transbay shortly thereafter.

Also in the mix, though not in contention for tallest, is the ~750-footer at 181 Fremont.

--These projects will take three years to complete at a minimum, at which point the market should be dramatically improved.

northbay Oct 8, 2010 6:59 PM

in general, i agree with plinko.

not to take this thread too off topic but here's a article in the nyt from today that touches on this subject:

Quote:

Still Standing in the Way of Skyscrapers

By CARA BUCKLEY
Published: October 8, 2010

A lonely little red building sits on a short block a stone’s throw away from Lincoln Center. Five stories tall, crisscrossed by fire escapes, it looks as if it escaped from the Lower East Side. Skyscraping apartment towers loom over it like bullies ganging up on an old lady. A parking garage and a flyspeck of green space surround it like a moat.

Billy Cobin, who has lived in the building for 39 years, says it serves as a rare reminder of the neighborhood’s working-class past.

Theresa Pinelli, 29, a pastry chef and one of the newest tenants in the building’s 26 apartments, said she agonized before moving in because it looked so out of place. “It’s just so random — you’re walking along and it comes up out of nowhere,” she said, “this building in the middle of nowhere, yet in the middle of everything.”

The story behind 33 West 63rd Street, long a puzzle to passers-by and audiences leaving the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas across the street, is in danger of being lost to time. Built in the 1890s, the tenement is one of the many dozens of architectural holdouts dotting the city -- among them, the Smith & Wollensky building at Third Avenue and East 49th Street, and the small corner holdout, since demolished and rebuilt, that forced Macy’s to cut a notch out of its flagship at Herald Square. It is unclear, though, whether the West 63rd site still exists out of stubbornness, foolishness, or both.

Less than a handful of longtime tenants remember the building’s previous owner, the colorful and curmudgeonly Col. Jehiel R. Elyachar, and his fateful stand more than four decades ago against a powerful real estate family that wanted to tear the place down.

....
source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/ny...ournal.html?hp

pawelsf Oct 9, 2010 8:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plinko (Post 5007417)
I'm not insisting anything. I'm simply saying that small streetscape buildings are important too. You may not think so, but these in particular don't belong to you do they? In the absence of the ability to clear the superblock and create some 'tower with a plaza out front', the architects have had to be extremely creative in their integration. And I think they've done it quite interestingly.

I'm not in favor of preservation for preservation's sake. And as an architect, I've certainly had my fair share of arguments won and lost on the subject.

I stand by my statement that these small 'leftovers' ,if you will, can create something accidentally wonderful. 50 years from now, people will look at the block and say 'what an interesting juxtaposition'. It's organic city development at its finest.

Oh, but I didn’t say small streetscape buildings are unimportant! Please don’t misconstrue me there. I happen to love smaller buildings as well. I am just being realistic enough to conceed that there ought to be qualifications to preservation, so as to avoid being guilty of preservation for the sake of preservation – something I think San Francisco is notoriously guilty of (think North Beach library). I am only talking about this particular project’s site with respect to the future neigborhood of the city’s tallest towers. The two tiny buildings will simply not allow a tall tower on that prime, prime, prime corner lot to be built.

Besides, there’s already a building set up exactly like what you are arguing for, across the street from the site (555 Mission and Salt House building)! That Salt House building is already there to help people put things in scale. How many more of that setup do you want within a distance of one stoplight to the next?

Also, please don’t make a tower+plaza combo such an undesirable thing. The new towers a stone’s throw away from the site are not dead, sterile as you demonize the combo to be. JP Morgan Chase’s plaza has a zen-like atmosphere going on, and it’s dynamic sculpture is very interesting, while the rustling little bamboo forest is very refreshing to the senses. 555 Mission’s plaza is green, hip with an interesting and colorful artpiece. I think you are stuck with the notion that tower+plaza combo being boring/sterile the way they were in 70’s/80’s/90’s ( as in the case of BoA, US Bank, Chevron, One Embarcadero etc).

Fortunately, the current and future towers are more environment and pedestrian-friendly and overall much more pleasing to the eyes. Glassy towers with airy public lobbies are being designed like 125 2nd St and the future tower across Millennium to name a few. And these exciting, newer designs can be had at that very prime, prime, prime corner location if only those two small ugly buildings would go.

Mattylite Oct 9, 2010 11:00 AM

Looks like a fantastic project, don't know what the point of keeping the 3 story building is if they tearing everything else down, is the 3 story building more significant than the 6 story building that is on the corner? Granted none of them seem architecturally or historically significant, but I could be wrong.

Mattylite Oct 9, 2010 11:34 AM

I made my first post a little too quickly, ( I only read the first page), it seems, several people seem to think having the little 3 storey building will be great for juxtapositioning; maybe if it were on a corner; but to have it completely surrounded by 900' , 600' , etc. seems to be odd; especially since buildings like the Crocker Bank and the building at Montgomery and Market were torn down to throw up generic 60's - 70's corporate fluff, (they could have left them or parts of them up), it's kind of a sentimental guilt trip, just because it was built 80 or 90 years ago doesn't mean it has to or should stay, it's all about massing, if you want to be a big city and play big, you have to make sacrifices, I'd rather have an impeccable trio of integrated highrises, than have them have to build around a single building not for preservation, but for the sake of preserving something. That was a really long run on sentence by the way.

fflint Oct 11, 2010 7:20 PM

Perhaps there is some confusion--the small buildings in question are not staying due to the efforts of planners or preservationists. Rather, it is the free market that is keeping the holdouts in place--the owners of the small buildings did not wish to sell to the developers of 50 First.

In light of that reality, Plinko and I are saying there's an upside: the juxtoposition of old and new, large and small will enrichen the entire experience.

Reminiscence Oct 12, 2010 1:20 AM

Don't mean to gain up on people, but I agree with preserving the older and smaller buildings. It's that mix of building styles, some older and some newer, that I always found intriguing. Aside from good planning and style, it just looks better than a whole bunch of new buildings next to each other, even though these new buildings are themselves visually striking :)

SanFran Oct 13, 2010 12:15 AM

I like that they are keeping the smaller building to me it will look nice, now if the heights stay the same as they proposed then it will all be perfect. :tup:
San Francisco needs to wake up and accept business.

pawelsf Oct 14, 2010 8:34 AM

the fact remains that mission corridor certainly has many older short building left for scale purposes. older short buildings juxtaposed next to taller modern towers are certainly not lacking there. there's that older yellow brick building and st. regis; there is the shorter and older salt house bldg and 555 mission; the shorter and older 121 second st and taller 101 second street etc. so i guess the question is how much is enough before one becomes no better than sue hestor or supervisor daly?:rolleyes:

plinko Oct 14, 2010 3:48 PM

^Again, you're misunderstanding preservation vs an owner not willing to sell. Two very different scenarios.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pawelsf
Oh, but I didn’t say small streetscape buildings are unimportant! Please don’t misconstrue me there. I happen to love smaller buildings as well. I am just being realistic enough to conceed that there ought to be qualifications to preservation, so as to avoid being guilty of preservation for the sake of preservation – something I think San Francisco is notoriously guilty of (think North Beach library). I am only talking about this particular project’s site with respect to the future neigborhood of the city’s tallest towers. The two tiny buildings will simply not allow a tall tower on that prime, prime, prime corner lot to be built.

Except that given the context of those two buildings, the architects have done EXACTLY that, designed a tall tower on a prime site. The fact that they've done so without being able to use the prime corner actually makes it more interesting.


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