Welcome to Year in Curbed, wherein we close out 2014 by asking local design, real estate, and media luminaries to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of a year's worth of development in San Francisco. The answers are in no particular order; all responses have been cut and pasted unabridged, below.
Q: What was the best new (or adaptively reused) building of 2014?
Cliff Kuang, articles editor at WIRED: This is a bit of a cheat, but I think the new SFMOMA, which is giving us hints of what it'll soon look like, is the most interesting building on the horizon. It's one of the few buildings in the Bay Area that have both formal ambition and technical innovation.
John King, urban design critic at the San Francisco Chronicle: Thin crop—so much still on the way—but David Baker's 300 Ivy's real urbane at a small scale, and HOK's 535 Mission surprisingly so on the skyline.
Brock Keeling, culture editor at 7x7 magazine: 8 Octavia. It's gorgeous yet reminds me of a prison; thus I would like to have sexual intercourse with it.
Joel Goodrich, luxury real estate specialist at Coldwell Banker Previews International: I love what they're about to do to the Mining Exchange building on Bush—a classical Palladian-style building where they will keep the facade and build a glass tower behind it—very Pyramid at the Louvre!
Allison Arieff, editorial director at SPUR: 140 New Montgomery.
Anne Fougeron, principal at Fougeron Architecture: I'll keep mine close to home—literally: our office building was designed by Henry Temple Howard—son of John Galen Howard in 1940. I argue it is one of the nicest buildings I have ever been in in SF. It is a small studio space with this incredible interior space, ceilings that soars 26' with northern skylights. It stands the wearing test of time; all we did was a little sheetrocking before we moved our office in 5 months ago. Stark, bright and airy, I love it. This is what architecture is for me, "the play of forms under light."
David Baker, principal at David Baker Architects: 8 Octavia by Stanley Saitowitz. It's a really radical, interesting building.
Kevin Ho, broker associate at Vanguard Properties: There's not just one, but there's a genre: the now-dark-paint-exterior SOMA warehouse space with filament-lightbulb, open-floor concept buildings we see pop up means that people are commuting less and using the city more, right?
Marc L'Italien, principal at EHDD: No significant new building caught my eye, and I'm not aware of any major adaptive reuse projects in SF, which is unfortunate. Sports Basement did a wonderful job of reusing Berkeley Iceland, the recently designated landmark in the East Bay. Two things in particular caught my eye—the retention of historic fragments, i.e. reusing the old bleachers as counters and keeping the working scoreboards, as well as ample natural light.
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