fern’s SF

post by fernando astiazaran
SF  >  LA
[greater than]


san francisco / oakland / berkeley

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Even though I feel more ‘at home’ in Los Angeles [I live in LA County], San Francisco never fails to amaze me. The city, the food, the vibe, the artisan community, the trump-free zone, and the architecture always intrigue me.  Even the ‘shitty’ architecture is beautiful.

This is the third time I come to San Francisco for an architecture studio field trip, and it’s not enough.  There are some repeat visits from time to time, but I learn something new from each one.

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-day 1-

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616 20th street

This project responds well to the context, regarding views, future construction and regulations, as well as city fabric.


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Minnesota Street Project

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite projects from the trip.  Its simplicity in design/renovation is stunning.  Bryan gets the credit for finding this space; it is hidden behind one of the installations at the Minnesota Street Project.  Its current use is gallery storage, but judging by how well-lit this space is, it could be an installation in it of its own.  This concept parallels a potential idea for my ‘mini-thesis’ I have had on my mind.  I call it little architecture.  This notion is defined purely by details, and the experiences of individual spaces.  It comes to light that many spend a great amount of time ‘form-finding,’ and not enough time designing with the experiential/human element in mind.  I admit I fall under this category, but the double-quarter studio will give me the time I need to practice this conviction.


Iwamotoscott office, site sketches

The event space that Iwamotoscott designed in their office is one of the highlights of that visit.  It is spacious and is greatly balanced by the adjacent staircase, projector screen, and conference room up high.

The best part about this office tour, however, was the reveal of the full-scale mock-ups.  Physical modeling is one of my favorite aspects of design, and doing this in full-scale makes it all the better.  The section illustrates the lighting quality the firm is currently studying for a lobby space on Spear Street.



-day 2-
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Cathedral of Christ the Light

This project by SOM lives up to its name.  The cathedral’s manipulation of light truly adds to the understanding of the immense space.  I was amazed by the choir, and at subtle moments, their sound reminded me of an M83 track.  Attending mass was a huge part of the experience for me.  However, I could not stop looking up during the service.  The [seemingly] simplicity of materiality and connections make one feel right at home, in a place where he/she belongs.


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Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

It is extremely unfortunate that most exhibitions were closed at the BAMPFA. I do enjoy the multi-floor lobby space, however.  The clerestory lighting illuminates the space in a way that gives it a characteristic language, with an elegant all-white finish at the ceiling.  I also very much love the all-red-everything staircase.  This is a case where one single detail permeates throughtout the entirety of a space [in this case, circulation].



Cathedral of the Light + BAMPFA sections, sketches





-day 3-
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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

I believe this photo captures the essence of SFMOMA rather well.


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Hyatt Hotel, San Francisco

Revealing ourselves as ‘tourists’ has never been so much fun.


Autodesk Gallery sections, sketches

The section at the top demonstrates the relationship between two unique viewing experiences and the aquarium itself at the Joetsu Aquarium Museum by Nihon Sekkei, a relationship similar to the one I studied during our first project this quarter.

At the bottom right is a sketch of one of the projects from the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.



Thank you, Jeff, for another memorable trump-less studio trip.



To look at this year’s Academy Award nominations, click here.

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