For years, a striking Richard Meier-designed tower was planned for the currently underused corner of Market and Van Ness, but the project was plagued by troubles with ground-level winds. In late October developer Build Inc. announced that Meier had been replaced by Snøhetta, the starchitect firm behind the SFMOMA expansion, and Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), architects of the One Rincon towers and 100 Van Ness. A new design has now been released for the prime site, as John King reports in the Chronicle, and it envisions a masonry and glass 37-story residential high-rise with wedge-shaped breaks in the facade that will lessen the wind effects and create communal spaces for residents. Along Oak Street a new public plaza would be covered by canopies that would also help to deflect the wind.
The canopies above the plaza would reach 20 to 30 feet into the air and create a new public space with room for performances by students at the nearby San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a new entrance to the Muni subway station. The design has also undergone a name change that reflects the new focus on Oak Street: its working name is now One Oak instead of One Van Ness.
If plans for the tower move forward, it would host 308 residential units. Build Inc. plans to begin community outreach meetings over the next month, and the All Star Cafe adjacent to the project's main lot has been acquired by the developer and is set to close Monday. The new design has been filed with the Planning Department and the developers hope to receive approvals by the end of 2015.
Credit: Tracy Elsen