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These Projects Bring New Design Approaches To The Bay Area

Certain Bay Area projects have the potential to reshape their communities, bringing in needed spaces and services.

Here are a few projects, ranging from those that have just opened their doors to some that are still on the drawing board, that have taken innovative approaches to design and are bringing new advances to the area. Bisnow's Bay Area Architecture & Design Lunch & Learn will tackle design trends from construction to technology on March 20.

Moscone Center, San Francisco

Moscone Center

The Moscone Center completed its $551M expansion in January, adding more than 500K SF of exhibition space, new meeting rooms and expanded lobbies. The project, which targeted LEED Platinum certification, makes Moscone Center one of the most sustainable major convention centers in North America.

The expansion was designed by SOM with Mark Cavagnero Associates. It incorporates solar panels, energy-efficient lights and on-site wastewater treatment for greywater and storm runoff. The expansion is expected to help the center continue to bring in large tech conferences for years to come.

The Bay Area is home to some of the world's most sustainable buildings. Salesforce Tower, which was designed for energy efficiency, 100% renewable electricity and the largest blackwater recycling system in a U.S. commercial high-rise, recently received LEED Platinum certification.

Oakland A's Ballpark, Oakland

A revised rendering of the planned Oakland A's ballpark at Howard Terminal

The proposed stadium, originally a jewelbox design from Bjarke Ingels Group, would be built at the Port of Oakland's Howard Terminal at the waterfront. The plans have changed somewhat from the original design.

The site seeks to include cafés, shops, coworking, gyms and homes. Gensler and James Corner Field Operations are also working on the site design.

Though the design has changed to a more circular stadium, it still makes use of a tree-lined promenade that forms a public park around the upper level of the stadium.

There has been some pushback from local groups worried about issues that include whether the stadium will undergo the full environmental review and whether lights from the stadium could interfere with boat traffic coming into the port.

Part of the plans for the stadium include a new vision for the Oakland Coliseum site in East Oakland that includes a central park, an amphitheater and turning Oracle Arena into an events center.

The Golden State Warriors are wrapping up their last season in Oracle Arena before moving to their new Chase Center arena in San Francisco's Mission Bay. Chase Center is expected to be complete later this year.

California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness Campus hospital, San Francisco

California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness Campus hospital

The new 11-story hospital from Sutter Health, scheduled to open in March, brings not only a new structure to the San Francisco skyline, but also seismic technology that is new to North America. The project uses 119 viscous wall dampers to absorb strong movement and reduce overall stress on the building during an earthquake. The 274-bed hospital is designed to not only ride out a large earthquake with minimal damage, but to stay open and provide critical services in an emergency situation. It is equipped with emergency generators, food, water and safe sewage storage for at least four days of operating off the grid.

The project was designed by SmithGroup, with Degenkolb Engineers as the engineer of record.

Building resilience is key to California hospitals, which are required to meet rigorous seismic standards by certain deadlines, and is also crucial to other types of buildings. In San Francisco, mixed-use residential and office tower 181 Fremont is designed with piston dampers and is one of the city's most resilient buildings.

Agrihood, Santa Clara

Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara

The city of Santa Clara recently approved its largest affordable housing project, titled Agrihood, that will combine urban living with farm life. The mixed-income property on 5.8 acres will have 361 apartments, with 181 below market rate, and a 1.7-acre urban farm. The project was a way to address those in the community who argued Santa Clara should retain its agrarian roots even as the city needs to meet the demand for adequate housing.

The on-site farm will provide local food and outdoor recreational and educational resources to residents and the surrounding community. Steinberg Hart is the architect for the overall project development, residential housing and public amenity space. CMG Landscape Architecture is the landscape architect.

Agricultural neighborhoods are on the rise as communities seek ways to incorporate more green space and respond to resident demand for local food and environmental benefits. This project, while the first of its kind in Santa Clara, follows the path of similar projects elsewhere in Northern California (such as The Cannery in Davis), going a step beyond a rooftop garden.

For insight on new frontiers in architecture and design, join us at Bisnow's Bay Area Architecture & Design Lunch & Learn March 20 at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

CORRECTION, MARCH 7, 7:10 A.M. PT: A previous version of this story did not reflect SmithGroup's rebranding on the company name or that the firm was solely responsible for the design of the Van Ness campus hospital. The story has been updated.