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Greener Than Thou: SF Public Utilities Commission Building

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Greener Than Thou is our report on San Francisco’s obsession with all things green, calling bullshit in the poseurs and lavishing praise on those who have secured their place in environmental paradise. Let it mellow longer than most? Holler!

After six years at the Chron, critic John King can only manage to squeeze out a single word: sustainability. Bro's seen a lot of change in this city, and while ever-reaching skyscrapers, public art flourishes-gone-wild, and enough mirrored glass to support every coke habit on the West Coast have been provided for good times, sustainability is here to stay. Listen to the man, people: Greenness is not a trend. Not at all. Swear.

Okay, so King has a point— there's much more at stake with sustainable design than, say, a "decorative" 10- ton hunk of steel affixed to the side of a new high rise building. While King predicts a bevy of green buildings in San Francisco's future, today's ditty focuses on the Public Utilities Commission building at 525 Golden Gate Ave., set to open in 2010.

The deets:

· The ubiquitous government dome will be placed by even more ubiquitous solar panels and wind turbines; "horizontal strips of finlike panels" (alarm: sounded) will both deflect light and direct it toward the building.

· Walls of clear glass. We repeat: CLEAR GLASS WALLS. And wind turbines? Oh hell yes the building will sport its own turbines. Is that even a question anymore?

"Still, an architect today who designs a high-profile building has to take the environment into account," closes King. "Not just because it's the right thing to do but also because other architects and clients are making the effort." The green moral imperative, signed, sealed, and delivered.
· I just want to say one word to you: sustainability [SF Gate]
· Rebuilt: SF Public Utilities Commission H.Q. [Curbed SF]

[From right to left: current San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters; future PUC headquarters at 525 Golden Gate Avenue. Images courtesy Transbay Blog and Flickr user leprello87]