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Five Things to Build On in 2012

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On Tuesday, The Chronicle's John King came up with five things he'd like to see in 2012. It's a thoughtful list, and we'd like to offer five more. OK, some of which might actually be multi-year. Feel free to offer your own in the comments.

Pay Your Architect: While "architect-designed" is no guarantee of quality in the end result, paying your architect often is. With the SFMOMA expansion looming- literally and elegantly- over our heads, we pray that those writing the checks to look at previous results in museum building where the architect's fees were not sufficient to cover adequate detailing and supervision. Like Herzog & De Meuron's De Young. The building wound up being clad in the wrong copper and there's no way the architects are responsible for many of the interior details- like an ugly lobby, an even uglier cafe, and windows that look like they came from Home Depot. One only has to look across the restored Music Concourse and see what Renzo Piano hath wrought. While we realize value engineering goes a long way to ruining a building, Mies van der Rohe's humble 1959 quote "God is in the details" is worth remembering. [Image Credit: Snøhetta/SFMOMA]

Mayor Lee, Lose the Discretionary Review: It's become a tool to inflict pain. A worthy concept, the dreaded five-hundred-dollar handshake has become a weapon in the hands of the wrong people. And while it may cut down on lawsuits, there's got to be a better way.

Rethink the Golf Courses: Most of which were designed before women had the right to vote. Do we really need golf in Golden Gate Park? Can we turn golf courses into soccer fields? Take a look at 19th Century landscape design and figure out a way to fit the 21st Century- and futbol- into it. Or not. Golf courses here are the result of Manifest Destiny thinking, pushed close to the shore because, after all, there was "nothing" there. Which brings up the larger question of how we handle the coastline- what's left of those acres of sand dunes and brackish ponds behind the beach plus the issues of unleashed dogs in the dunes, sewage, bird migration routes and those ever-pesky frogs and snakes.

Pan American Unity: Figure out a way to move the Diego Rivera mural from CCSF to someplace? better. Most San Franciscans are unaware that one of Rivera's greatest murals- executed during the 1939/40 Golden Gate International Exposition before a live audience- is hidden away in a lobby at the City College of San Francisco. Since no one seems willing to come forward to pay for the Mexican Museum here (Carlos Slim, we're looking at you) and whose future may yet be tied to the current peril of the SF Redevelopment Agency, we suggest finding a place for this magnificent fresco in the expanded SFMOMA. While Rivera's popular reputation has been eclipsed by his long-suffering wife, Frida Kahlo, it's a glorious work- restoration and a proper venue would both honor Rivera and the Mexican community. CCSF can barely maintain the mural's website, but it's worth a visit if you don't go south of SOMA. To give an idea of scale, the ten-panel work was painted in an airplane hanger on Treasure Island. It's that big. [Image Credit: Diego Rivera's 'Pan American Unity', courtesy CCSF; click to expand in a new window.]

Middle Class Housing Plan: This was suggested by two commenters yesterday. While laudable, no one has ever agreed on what "middle class" actually is, unless as a commentary on one's failed upbringing. Insults aside, it's probably time to consider that home ownership in San Francisco is only for the well-off, like Manhattan and most of Paris. On the other hand, there are bargains to be had well within the reach of BART. So balance what you want- a home of your own or 24/7 access to Tartine's almond croissants- and stop whining.
· Five Things San Francisco Can Build On in 2012 [John King/SF Gate]
· Best Renderporn Award, 2011: Snøhetta and SFMOMA [Curbed SF]
· Today at the Planning Commission [Curbed SF, 2nd item]
· Endangered Species Battle it Out Over Flooded Habitats, Outfits [Curbed SF]
· Pan American Unity [SF Guidelines]
· Rivera Mural Project [CCSF]