Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?

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While I was on vacation, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in San Francisco unveiled three competing plans for a new office tower and transit terminal that will be the tallest building in the city. For once all three schemes have something to be said for them.

There’s one by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill:


(Image courtesy SOM)

One by Richard Rogers’ firm, now called Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners:

transbay-designs-2-005.jpg
(Image courtesy Transbay Joint Powers Authority)

And one by Cesar Pelli:

transbay-designs-2-001.jpg
(Image courtesy Transbay Joint Powers Authority)

But at first glance, the thing that struck me is that Pelli, whose plan calls for a 5.4 acre rooftop park at its base, has offered up in the tower portion of his design yet another variation of the rounded obelisk that he’s already plunked down in Hong Kong and Jersey City, N.J.

It’s all the more unusual since Pelli is an architect who doesn’t repeat himself that much. But sometimes architects hit on a form that they can’t stop fiddling with. Or to put it another way, sometimes their busy offices just find it easier to roll out one more version of what they’ve done before.

In any event, here’s a link to the Transbay website with more info and pics on the three contenders. (When you get there, click on “What Will It Look Like?”)

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