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Cranespotting: Service by Design

Even many of our civic buildings and medical facilities are getting modern overhauls.

Cathedral Hill Campus

Rendering by HCK

(1 of 2)

San Francisco Public Safety Building

Rendering by S.F. Planning

(2 of 2)

1. Cathedral Hill Campus (Civic Center)
Van Ness and Geary
A nip and tuck for the neighborhood

Stir together a couple billion dollars and a powerful healthcare conglomerate, then layer it all atop a long labor dispute, and you have one of the most contentious local development deals in recent history. California Pacific Medical Center’s original Cathedral Hill Campus plan, part one of Sutter Health’s citywide hospital-upgrade vision, had to be slimmed down to gain approval from the Board of Supervisors last July. The upshot: It’ll be a block-spanning hospital of two buildings connected by an underground tunnel, with a new emergency room and 284 single-patient rooms. Medical/2019/226ft.

2. San Francisco Public Safety Building (Mission Bay)
1300 Third St.
A forceful look

Here's evidence that the city's center of gravity is shifting south: The SFPD's command center is fleeing SoMa and shacking up with the fire department in Mission Bay. The complex preserves the site's brick firehouse while surrounding it in a head-scratching juxtaposition, with a steel-and-glass fortress. The design is tough-guy, but with smarts: It will also be LEED Gold-certified. Police and fire/Fall 2014/88 ft.

3. University of the Pacific’s New Campus (SOMA)
(155 Fifth St.)

Open wide and say, ahh
The University of the Pacific’s school of dentistry has taken a skinning knife to the concrete facade at Fifth and Minna and fashioned in its place sheets of gleaming glass—a minty-fresh look for this claustrophobic stretch of SoMa in time for the 2014 summer quarter. Medical/Summer 2014/108 ft.

4. UCSF Medical Center (Mission Bay)
601 16th St.
A cornerstone of care

This is the seed from which the entire neighborhood of Mission Bay has germinated. It’s a massive care complex that covers two square blocks and is estimated to cost $1.52 billion. But UCSF has gone out of its way to design buildings architecturally congruent with their surroundings (for better or worse) and as technologically sophisticated as any of their neighbors. Medical/Summer 2014/140ft.

5. San Francisco General Hospital (Potrero Hill)
1001 Potrero Hill
Brought to you by Prop. A
Except for the Central Subway, this hospital’s near billion-dollar price tag dwarfs that of any other public project in the city. For that kind of bond-backed cash, we will be getting a nine-story acute-care and trauma center, seismically designed to shimmy 30 inches in any direction and bound for LEED Gold. Medical/Spring 2015/124 ft.

6. Chinese Hospital (Chinatown)
(835-845 Jackson St.)

Leaping to the future
As the Central Subway boring machines tunnel toward Stockton, it seems as though long-underserved Chinatown is finally getting its municipal due. Consider the construction of a new Chinese Hospital yet another sign. Gone is the cramped, seismically unfit Coolidge-era facility. In its stead, a glass-and stone-fronted hospital will soon house a 54-bed acute-care facility, along with a 24-hour skilled-nursing wing for chronically ill and elderly patients. Medical/2015/90.5 ft.


Castles in the Sky: Downtown Titans
Nabe Changers: Neighborhood Defining Apartment Buildings
Open for Business: Office Buildings, Malls, and Hotels
Cultural Beacons: The Arts Will Endure
Urban Levittowns: Planned Communities, Hold the Vanilla
Service by Design
Modern Overhauls for Civic Stalwarts


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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