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ICE BREAKER We started the semester with an interesting and fun “Icebreaker�. During class, Jerry Lum, our instructor, played segments of two movies that had stunning imagery. The City Of Lost Children and the animated The Triplets of Belleville. The latter especially stirred my imagination with its exaggerated architectural forms and the use of a beautiful burnt orange/ rusty color palette that permeates the whole movie. The lesson we were supposed to take with us is that as designers we should be able to acquire a vision that is both cinematographic and poetic, but based on a narrative that makes sense, while allowing ourselves, the designers, to become the directors, choreographers, painters, creating (hopefully) beauty and magic for our urban actors. The assignment was to assemble a series of cinematographic snapshots in a montage fashion that evoked different moments and places relevant to the student’s vision and spatial experiences. Taking the role of urban actors each of us descended or flew over spaces that demanded our attention.


I have always been fascinated with that area of San Francisco called the Central Waterfront. It is located on the flats east of Potrero Hill. Much like Mission Bay the area has sweeping views of the East Bay, including Mount Diablo. But unlike Mission Bay one can sense a past that is sill haunting the place (in a good way), giving it its own strong identity. Although the first impression is one of abandonment and neglect, at close observation the place is rich in architectural interest. It used to be the hub of shipbuilding and it is still a working shipyard. The buildings are very large in size but they have beautiful proportions. And then there is the Dogpatch, which is a very vibrant and underrated small neighborhood full of good, family owned small restaurants and cafes.


City Image

Kevin Lynch

Next we addressed the principles and components that are necessary to the success of good urban design. Through the work of urbanist Kevin Lynch and his book City Image we learnt that five elements are essential for a city plan to be complete and effective. These elements are Paths, Edges, Districts, Nodes, and Landmark. The central idea is that a successful urban space should be legible, imageable, and capable of stimulating as well as engaging the user in active and passive participation, and with the correct integration of these five elements this can be effectively achieved. The result is the individual and the space becoming one harmonious entity.

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Paths:

channels along which the observer moves...

Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities


Esprit Park - Fletcher Studio The intended meaning of “legibility” here is the easiness in which a space can be read through the sum of its parts, bound together and recognized as a cohesive ensemble. For instance, a park such as Esprit Park, in the Dogpatch, has all the elements that contribute in making it a legible place: seating, refreshments, sun, shade, landscape, and playground.

The meaning of “imageability” is that of that quality that impart an object with high probabilities of invoking a strong image (of strong recognizability): a park, a landmark, etc... Furthermore a space that is legible and imageable offers positive values such as the emotive satisfaction of the user who, unconsciously or

consciously, recognizes the system of organization and communication that permeates the space.


San Gimignano, Italy

San Francisco Pier70 Smoke stack

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Landmarks

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Most houses in Dogpatch were built by working families, often with their own hands. Typical of the Dogpatch neighborhood homes are more than a dozen quaint Victorian-style houses designed by the architect Jon Cotter Pelton Jr. in the early 1880s. At the time, Pelton published his design specifications for free in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, so homes could be built at a price that was within the industrial worker’s reach. Thirteen of these dwellings can still be found in Dogpatch, on Tennessee and Minnesota Streets, between 22nd and 20th. This houses are now considered part of San Francisco history and therefore are landmark. PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT


Prove it!

In addition of studying and applying to our studies the ideas of Kevin Lynch, we also learnt about the “Six Principles for the Analysis and Presentation of Data� by Edward Wolf Tufte: 1) Show comparisons, contrast, differences. 2) Show causality, mechanism, explanation, systematic structure. 3) Show multivariate data; that is show more than one or two variables. 4) Completely integrate words, numbers, images, diagrams. 5) Throughly describe the evidence. Provide a detailed title, indicate the authors, and sponsors, document the data sources, show complete measurements scales, and point out relevant issues. 6) Analytical presentations ultimately stand or fall depending on the quality, relevance, and integrity of their content.


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The implementation of these six principles should assist the viewer in understanding the visual message in one’s work, in the most readable, provable, and explainable way. According to Tufte “these six principles of analytical design are derived from the principles of analytical thinking”. Tufte is a defender of minimalism and strongly believes in the exclusion of all elements that disturb the comprehension of a piece

of graphic work. What I think of extreme value, is Tufte’s believe that the creator should be aware of the dangers of using the graphic language often in an ignorant way, excessively, and in a highly decorative fashion (eye candy). Students of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and similar fields should all be aware of all the intricacies related to urban and other design disciplines, and should understand the

importance, the responsibility and expectations bestowed upon them in applying those concepts to their work.


“The district must have sufficiently dense concentration of people, for whatever purpose they might be there. This include people there because of residence.” Jane Jacobs PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

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District PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

“...frequent streets and short blocks are valuable because of the fabric of intricate cross-use that they permit among the users of a city neighbouhood.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities


“Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes.” Jane Jacobs

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Utopian City

Aleppo, Syria

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Siena, Italy

One of the reason why the Dogpatch can be viewed as a good district is its great accessibility. Its main commercial artery is Third Street, which contains retail and service businesses and is served by the T Third Street light rail line operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. The Third Street corridor connects Dogpatch to San Francisco’s downtown, via new development zones including Mission Bay and the UCSF research campus.


Nodes Centers of attraction that you can enter<- (Konak Square) "are points, the strategic spots in a city into which an observer can enter, and which are intensive foci to and from which he is traveling. They may be primary junctions, places of a break in transportation, a crossing or convergence of paths, moments of shift from one structure to another. Or the nodes may be simply concentrations, which gain their importance from being the condensation of some use or physical character, as a street-corner hangout or an enclosed square ... " A node is a center of activity. Actually it is a type of landmark but is distinguished from a landmark by virtue of its active function. Where a landmark is a distinct visual object, a node is a distinct hub (gรถbek) of activity. Kevin Lynch


Piazza San Pietro, Rome

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, USA

Siena, Italy

It seems to me that successful nodes happen organically, slowly, through time, but sometimes they also happen unpredictably, mysteriously. People may just prefer a place that hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been over programmed over a place with the most sleek master plan, just because the prefer the authenticity of the former.

Ikes Place, San Francisco

Biergarten, Hayes Valley, San Francisco


Edges

in urban design define the open spaces, courtyard and plazas; they separate one from another as in a commercial of buildings beteen a major arterial and a residential neighborhood; they can transition one land use intensity from another by different building and or space type.


Edges help define paths, materials, articulation, landscaping, and so on. Rythm, repetition, scale are all important componets found in edges. Some examples of edges include the Great Highway, train tracks, city limits, ecc... Edges can also be dividers between two distinct areas.

Transition of paving patterns

Train Tracks

Water edge


Why Public Spaces Fail According to Project For Public Space public spaces fail when a series of factors have a negative impact on the place. This factors can range from a lack of places to sit to dysfunctional features that are more visual than functional, to paths that go where people want go to blank walls or dead zones around the edge of a place, and so on. A perfect example of a failed public space is San Francisco United Nation Plaza. I have visited the plaza few times and every time I can’t wait to leave it as soon as I can as I am uncomfortable in that setting. At first glance the plaza offers all of the elements necessary for a public space to work, such as seating walls, shady and sunny areas, art display, well located, but despite all of that it doesn’t work and the only people frequenting the plaza are the (many) homelesses. According to PPS “The UN Plaza is the major entranceway to San Francisco’s vast but terribly under performing civic center. United Nations Plaza is a major point of access to San Francisco’s vast but disappointing Civic Center, and a key location on the equally under performing Market Street. Together, UN Plaza and Civic Center represent a major opportunity to tie together and improve the mediocre Market Street and the abysmal Embarcadero, one of the most unpleasant waterfront

boulevards of any major city. UN Plaza should be the gateway to a dynamic Civic Center. At its center currently is a wonderful fountain that is just in the wrong place--a sunken pit with water raging within (when it is on) that has become a bathing pool for San Francisco’s homeless. The potential of UN Plaza becomes apparent on market days, when the place thrives. Further redefining this plaza as a market destination with programming and other activity would do wonders. UN Plaza should stay true to its name and do all it can to showcase the assets of the multiple cultures that are part of the market.”


Defensible Space The idea behind it In 1972 American architect Oscar Newman published a book titled Theory Of Defensible Space that went on to become one of the most important tools for every architect and urban design. In his book Newman argues that through specific modification to the structure of a district, its inhabitant are enabled to better secure the space while appreciating the sense of well being that this new level of security provides to them.

Excerpted from the book


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A Utopian Vision

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At this point in the semester we where given total creative control and asked to create an Utopian district. The word Utopian, I thought, made the whole endevour a bit harder because, my God, how many chances do we get in life, make- believe or not, to create something with no restrictions and free rein? The temptation to come up with something outrageous and over the top was definitely a factor, but I tried to behave and I came up with a list of semi reasonable design goals that I tried to implement in the plan. I first imagined a place that would be identified as an arts education district, with a secondary emphasis in community building activities such as farmers market and community gardens. Blocks and building are to human scale to further convey the feeling of being in a village rather than in a chaotic metropolis. Next I proceeded to place the buildings, assigning functions to them such as art schools of various types, an art museum, a concert hall, many green spaces, a flexible space, and groceries and other types of necessary retailing walking distance from every residence which are at the far west side of the district. It was fun.

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Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Plan

Elevations


Entrance - Sense Of Place

1) Art Museum

2) Art Installation

1) Flexible Space 2) Community Pool

1) Residential

2) Concert Hall


Mission Bay

We now have embarked in the second half of this journey and went to Mission Bay for a field trip. Mission Bay is in a great location in San Francisco and has immense potential. Unfortunately so far, most of the buildings that were built failed to provide the one thing essential for a working urban environment and that is vitality. The space lacks of a sense of identity and vibrancy. It does not feel like San Francisco. Most of the building are very large and out of scale, and it takes some walking to get from one block to another. Also, the main industries that exist there are UCSF, Genentech and other medical and bio related fields. These one type of industry contribute to make Mission Bay a mono type of environment. Our task is to change all that and create a site within Mission Bay that will be vital and buoyant, and that should accomplish the ultimate goal of becoming a strong node and point of destination for San Franciscans that usually donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bother to go there.


Mission Bay In The Old Days


Open Spaces At Mission Bay

Future Children Park

The Koret and the Ricardo Legoretta Building


Mission Bay Three Initial Use Proposals

At this early stage of the project I can imagine a place that offers activities that will contribute to the transformation that is necessary to Mission Bay for a true birth as a vital new district of San Francisco. I can imagine a circus school, or a maritime museum, or a center for the performing arts, indoor diving , ecc..

Old City Model Of Mission Bay


We are now going to build a model of Mission Bay South in which we will build our final site. At this stage of the work we divided into different teams. Each team is working on a tight schedule to allow the following team to proceed with their side of the work. The model is quite large and it will rest on three white foam core boards that measure 4â&#x20AC;&#x2122;X5â&#x20AC;&#x2122; each. It was quite an ordeal to fit them in my car, but I made it!

Magda showing off her skills at the jigsaw


I really appreciate the fact that I am learning about the components and intricacies that are part of good urban design. It is a very exciting field and planners are such important players in the fabric of our society and very essential to its good health. I have also learned that good plans often happen when attention to what the people really need is paid. For instance, when Jane Jacobs said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.â&#x20AC;? She couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have been more right.

Gianfranco Pescetti, Arch103 Midterm Portfolio, Spring 2013  

School Portfolio

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