Announcing the 2012 Architecture and the City Festival

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and the Center for Architecture + Design announce the ninth annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the month-long celebration features behind the scenes and walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more, providing opportunities for participants to engage with the local architecture community and experience design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. Presented in collaboration with nearly 100 organizations, this year’s festival features over 40 events and is sure to include something inspiring for everyone.

While pop-up stores and rotating storefront galleries may be due, in part, to the economic times, the adaptive reuse of older buildings and public spaces has redefined the way we live and work.The 2012 festival theme, Design: It’s About Time, aims to inspire attendees to consider both the notion of permanence and the enduring power of design in the built environment, and to explore the layers of history that have shaped San Francisco.

For complete details and registration information, visit:

Opening Night Party
This evening, the Opening Night Party kicks off the Architecture and the City festival at the San Francisco Design Center, with a salute to the many individuals, organizations, cultural institutions and nonprofits that help make the month possible. This special evening also celebrates the work of the 2012/13 Small Firms, Great Projects participants with an exhibition highlighting the exceptional work of our Bay Area firms.


San Francisco Living: Home Tours
This year marks the tenth anniversary of our San Francisco Living: Home Tours weekend (September 15+16). This popular weekend showcases modernism at its finest and features a wide variety of architectural styles and neighborhoods, all from the architect’s point of view. Tour-goers have the exclusive opportunity to see distinctive San Francisco residences, meet design teams and discover the innovative design solutions inherent in San Francisco living.

Participating architects: Blue Truck Studio | David Baker + Partners Architects | Fougeron Architecture | Gary Gee Architects | Huang Iboshi Architecture and John Maniscalco Architecture | John Lum Architecture | SFOSL | Three Legged Pig Design | YamaMar Design |Zack | de Vito Architecture and Construction


Behind the Scenes Tours
Throughout the month, participants can see San Francisco’s architectural landscape from a new perspective with our architect-led behind the scenes tours. Tours include:

  • Visits to transformative adaptive reuse projects, including Southern Pacific Brewing– a cavernous former machinery warehouse converted into a restaurant, bar and brewery – and Sightglass café and production coffee roaster (both with Boor Bridges Architecture); as well as Heath Ceramics’ Mission-based factory and showroom (once a linen laundry facility), with owners Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic.
  • An AIA Member tour of the new Bayview public library, designed by THA Architecture with Karin Payson Architecture + Design, which will replace the existing building with a new 9,000 sq. ft. structure with sustainable features like vegetated roofs and an innovative natural ventilation system.
  • A tour of the restoration project at Angel Island’s historic Immigration Station, with Architectural Resources Group and Angel Island State Park.
  • An AIA Member hard hat tour through the street level retail concept of Market Square, the 11 story, 1937 Art Deco building at 9th and Market poised to become a new hub of technology and creativity.
  • boat cruise along San Francisco’s waterfront to both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, with Donald MacDonald Architects, Bart Ney and Heller Manus Architects, who will use this ideal backdrop to describe the process of designing a signature bridge.
  • An exploration of the early history, top-to-bottom reconstruction and current uses of theYellow Building, with architect Loring Sagan (Sagan Piechota Architecture).
  • A visit to the Buck Institute, set on a spectacular hilltop in Novato and designed by Perkins+Will in keeping with the Institute’s original master plan, by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei.
  • A walk through and discussion of the 5M project, a creative development designed to catalyze the innovative ideas that build our economy in the short and long-term, with designer Laura Crescimano.

Walking Tours
Rediscover San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods with walking tours that explore the mix of layered history and contemporary design in our city. Tours include visits to:

  • Lands End Lookout Visitor Center, with EHDD Architecture. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the ruins of Sutro Baths, the building stands along the path of some of the city’s most scenic walking trails and highlights the cultural and natural history of the surrounding area.
  • The International Orange exhibition at Fort Point, with the For-Site Foundation, exemplifies the crucial role that artists can play in revitalizing historic places using the Golden Gate Bridge for design inspiration.
  • The Tenderloin, with Lisa Gelfand of Gelfand Partners, with firsthand views of affordable single room occupancy hotels and the recently completed adaptive re-use of the historic Central YMCA.
  • Urban agriculture projects in the Tenderloin with SPUR, including Graze the Roof at Glide Memorial Church, and the Tenderloin People’s Garden.
  • Diamond Heights, which occupies a commanding position on Red Rock and Gold Mine hills and includes some of the city’s best modern residential architecture (tour led by Docomomo/Noca).

The featured 2012 exhibition, Greetings From San Francisco: Postcards from the City’s Past, is a series of vintage postcards collected by Peter Espe, a senior project manager at HOK. Espe’s collection of roughly 1,200 San Francisco images offers a glimpse of the city from before the 1906 earthquake to 1925. The collection includes detailed views of the city’s distinct architecture, from its growing neighborhoods to landmark buildings, and writings that reflect the popularity of the postcard at the time.

Don’t miss the accompanying exhibition lecture, where Espe will be joined in discussing the collecting process and history behind these striking images with Jonathan Lammers (architectural historian, Page & Turnbull), who will give an architectural and sociopolitical context to this period (roughly 1890-1929), and AIASF president Carolyn Kiernat (Page & Turnbull), who will moderate the discussion.


Celebrate Architecture and the City month with our popular film series that spotlights the built environment and the architectural profession. Films are shown every Wednesday at 5:30 pm during the festival at the San Francisco Public Library. Films include:

  • How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, which traces the rise of one of the world’s premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.
  • HU Enigma, a material metaphor of the Brazilian public sphere and its political maze, takes viewers into a symmetrically divided building, with an important public hospital on one side and a bewildering ruin on the other.
  • Master Plan, a portrayal of the various layers of “managed” housing in America, from individual homes to prisons, mixing accounts of the planners’ rationales for their designs with residents’ testimonies concerning the quality of life within these structures.
  • My Playground an exploration of the way Parkour and Freerunning are changing the perception of urban space and how these spaces and buildings are changing them.

Festival lectures convene leading minds on issues in architecture, design and urban planning. From design trends to addressing spatial challenges in the Bay Area, experts share their ideas, creativity and visions for our local built environment. Lectures include:

  • Design: It’s About Time, a panel discussion organized by the Center for Architecture + Design, that explores our evolving landscape and how design shapes the public realm today.
  • A lunchtime panel discussion on Design in the Media, moderated by Kenneth Caldwell and featuring Kitty Morgan (editor-in-chief, Sunset magazine), Ariel Schwartz (senior editor, Fast Company’s Co.Exist), and Jon Steinberg (editor-in-chief, San Francisco magazine).
  • GOOD Design, a forum that pairs designers with local civic leaders to identify innovative solutions to some of our everyday design problems.
  • Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, in conversation with John King, the Chronicle’s design critic.
  • An informative session on how to research the history of a building with SF Heritage and an exciting look at the home of the future presented in collaboration with SPUR.
West Coast Commercial Real Estate News