Having moved to San Francisco from Boston months prior to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I experienced firsthand the sudden destruction of much of the city’s infrastructure, including the irreparable damage to the elevated 50-foot-high two-level Embarcadero Freeway and the disruptions to transit access. This controversial piece of infrastructural highway, which was envisioned to create an expedited vehicular connection from the city’s Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge, bypassing the city grid, was at that point realized but only in part.
Recently, we reconfigured several units in a four-story midcentury gem of an apartment building atop San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, an exercise that was not unlike solving a 3D puzzle. We kept the panoramic views of the Bay and city skyline while rightsizing some of the units and carving out a two-story townhouse for the owners. The project shows the adaptability of the original building’s strong modernist bones and the opportunities for adding curves to counterpoint the orthogonal nature of the modernist box.
This month we lost a dear colleague and a giant in our field, Art Gensler. Our professional relationship with Art revolved around San Francisco International Airport projects and the Chase Arena, but more importantly, we had a personal relationship, one of friendship and mentoring. Byron’s work with Art on the board of trustees at California College of the Arts brought them together to envision ways of thinking, learning, and communicating about design to look to the future of the profession. Perhaps Art’s most arresting virtue was his innate ability to incessantly look forward and to encourage those around him to expand their viewpoints. Art taught us all how to shake it up, always with great warmth and generosity.
Recently, we have been reflecting on the impact and importance of local activism. The first article this month is a Kuth Ranieri blogpost focusing on Byron’s work with Responsible Growth in Marin. Since late 2019, RGM has been working to create an alternative vision for Marin County’s Northgate Mall after developers proposed a Costco, which was not in keeping with the community’s vision for future development of the aging mall. RGM’s concept centers on the creation of a town center flanked by new housing, green space, local shops and eateries.
Suburbs and cities everywhere face the challenge of what to do with malls and shopping centers that have been hit hard by COVID-19, the departure of department store anchors, and the rise of online shopping. One example close to home is Northgate Mall in San Rafael, which opened in the 1960s and currently has a Macy’s and a Kohl’s as its anchors. A third anchor, Sears, closed its doors here in 2018. About a year later, Costco proposed taking over the site with a massive three-story big box store and 30 Costco fuel pumps.
The Town of Eastham on Cape Cod selected Kuth Ranieri to design and administer construction of a new office facility for the Harbormaster and staff, located at the town harbor at the mouth of Rock Creek. The relocation of this public safety component to the harbor permits staff to manage the boat launch and slips directly, as well as to stage any rescue operations in the bay and interior freshwater bodies.
Kuth Ranieri Architects has promoted architects Rob Marcalow and Juno Song to associates. Rob is the firm’s East Coast studio director for the Boston regional office. Since joining in 2018, he’s worked on everything from a daycare center to San Francisco International Airport. Juno came to Kuth Ranieri in 2015 and has had a hand in a number of the firm’s projects at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), ranging from the new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 to the “Big Room” co-location office for the entire Terminal 1 team.
In the Bay Area, the scarcity and high expense of childcare has posed a significant challenge to families already struggling with the cost of living. One provider, Burlingame-based Palcare Childcare, has been making a difference since the early 1990s. Palcare offers childcare programs with flexible scheduling—not only during the day but also well into the evening—for families of children ranging from three months to five years old.
Today, the Black Lava Fields is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. There is an existing visitor’s center, a simple building made up of container modules that house a gift shop and café. The Bee Breeders, architecture competition organizers, held this design competition to replace the existing building with a structure more worthy of this amazing environment.