All the Cool Architecture Firms Do Projects on Old Navy Bases

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The Dwell on Design schedule says Craig Hartman from Skidmore Owings & Merrill is supposed talk about the Treasure Island project which would make for a SOM vs. Pugh + Scarpa Navy Land Redevelopment Project Showdown, but it looks like he’ll be going over their proposal for the Transbay Tower instead (which we like to call the Crystal Cathedral). Oh, duh: He’s obviously trying to sway some more votes before the deadline. Way to work it, Hartman!

Ok, cool, now he’s talking about Treasure Island (which we really hope they rename TI). The 400-acre island plopped in San Francisco Bay is a former Navy base that they’ve making into a mixed-use environmentally sensitive residential community. It will be connected with new ferries to the mainland, and linked with a bus system and possibly some alternative forms of personal public transportation. They’ve designed the grid of the city to maximize natural light and minimize wind. And they’ll also have a community farm…inspired by Alice Waters! It all comes around.

Gwynne Pugh counters with Pugh + Scarpa’s Navy project: a 15-acre Navy waterfront parcel in San Diego. With close proximity to the water it needed to serve at a gateway to the city with a relationship to the waterfront–“more like Nice,” says Pugh. The developers came to them with a bad “Irvine-like” plan (OC residents, take that any way you’d like), so they converted it into a more pedestrian-friendly layout using the paseo/plaza model–so pedestrians could move through the larger buildings and still interact with the water.

In this Navy vs. Navy faceoff, we’d say Hartman and SOM win this one, because an island from the bottom up is cooler than revamping the San Diego waterfront.

But wouldn’t it have been cool to have all the Transbay firms go head to head in some kind of McLaughlin Group blowout? We would pay money for that. Okay, back to paying attention.

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