Urban Fold

Are San Francisco Planners Going Too Far?

Architects in San Francisco say that the Planning Department has gotten increasingly involved in design decisions over the past two years, favoring traditional projects over contemporary designs.

A very contemporary 28-unit Nob Hill development designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz has faced criticism from the Planning Department -- so much so that the architect believes they are overstepping their role.

Planning Director John Rahaim recently expressed his frustration about another Saitowitz design going through the approval process:

Rahaim (quoted in Curbed SF): "I take great offense to the community comments that staff has no role in the design process. Staff's role in fact is exactly not to rubber stamp everything that walks in the door. ... Our role is to really look at the context and understand how a building fits into the context."

Another architect working in the city complains that the approval process is less than clear. "The planners have an unwritten agenda that must be satisfied, and to the uninitiated it seems like a game of Marco Polo," the anonymous architect says.

Full Story: Are Planners Overstepping Bounds Telling Architects What to Do?



Planners should be involved in design

I think it is totally appropriate for planners to be involved in matters pertaining to architectural design guidelines. What a project looks like in terms of aesthetics is as important as location and scale etc.

Neighbors should also have a say in the style of architecture constructed in their community, particularly if it greatly constrasts with existing styles.

Exempting churches from landmarking status seems to have negative consequences. Churches are often among the most beautiful buildings in our towns and cities, and can play host to a variety of cultural venues- concerts, plays etc.

Architects and Planners

An architect disagrees with a planner. In other news, the sun set in the west today. And now, the weather.



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