GOOD Design SF: Solving City Problems, Creatively GOOD Design SF: Solving City Problems, Creatively
GOOD Design SF: Solving City Problems, Creatively
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This was the fourth GOOD Design event we've held and I have to say, they just keep getting better. This one positively sparkled with excitement and possibility. "Programs like GOOD Design San Francisco advocate for good, quality design in the best possible way," Erin Cullerton, assistant director of AIA SF told me. "By creating an ideas-generating space for designers and civic leaders to come together, the program allowed for the precise collective sharing of talents and expertise that will be necessary to rethink the future of our cities." We couldn't agree more. Here's a quick recap of all six presentations and some more thoughts from the organizers.
E.B. Min of architecture firm Min Day kicked off the evening with a challenge filed by Monique Moyer from the Port of San Francisco. The flat, boundary-less paths along the city's Embarcadero are not ideal for sharing when it comes to the various recreants moving at different speeds, including bikers, walkers, runners, skateboarders, and rollerbladers. The task was not only to make recreational movement safer along the waterfronts, but to improve the relationship with the water. Min hoped their design could slow people down, noting that the original use of the area was a promenade, made for "promenading"-moving slowly along the water, focused on views, not exercise. In this light, the freeway-like space would be divided up into colorful and iconic "lanes" for different speeds of motion. But the best part was the addition of all sorts of objects of interest that would slow people down as well, like planters with interesting flora, large benches, and these really fun, oversized speed humps that could double as play areas for kids. Moyer said that the very first goal for the space-safety-could definitely be addressed with the lanes and color-coding.
Surface Design's landscape architects James Lord, Roderick Wyllie, and Geoff di Girolamo tackled a part of the waterfront that bordered Min Day's challenge zone, the exteriors of the Ferry Building. The problem, submitted by Chris Meany from developer Wilson Meany Sullivan, who handles the Ferry Building, was to take this often vacant pier behind the vibrant, foodie paradise and transform it into a destination that produced revenue and had a better relationship with the water. Quite the tall order. They committed to creating a 21st century "agora." Giant planters ringing the pier would create seating and shade without blocking water views, and a brilliant concept for bringing "floating gardens" (à la Amsterdam's flower farms) would create another level of engagement. To draw revenue to the area, kiosks would create a bustling marketplace and give a local buzz to the area, which would also be programmed with cultural events. Meany seemed to agree that the flexibility of the space was what made their proposal powerful, but he crushed our dreams of the Floating Gardens of San Francisco when he mentioned that one would be exceptionally tough to pass through the proper city channels.