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Last Night With Art Gensler Jr.

The living legend, on par with names like Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei, made a rare public appearance last night in S.F.—and explained why he prefers architecture over dentistry. His 4,905-person firm turns 50 this year.

During his short speech at a BOMA/IREM/NAIOP event at The Bently Reserve, Art made a bold statement: he thinks real estate is the finest industry in the country. It's the most influential and impactful, he explains, and can make more positive contributions than any other sector. It creates great environments to live, play and work and spans construction, finance, development and sales. Other industries can't compete; he was at the dentist this week and joked about how looking at someone's mouth all day would have no appeal to him. 

Art says there is no other city more on the forefront in development than S.F. That's a bold statement, considering Gensler's hefty design résumé. The latest biggie: Shanghai Tower, which will be the world's second-tallest building when it delivers this year. The event was thrown by a newly formed coalition, called Commercial Real Estate Alliance for Tomorrow’s Employees (CREATE). Money raised goes towards professors teaching real estate classes at SFSU and scholarships. It was a who's who of real estate, and architect Gary Nichols gave us a mini private tour of some upgrades recently done to the FiDi space, including new lighting, tiling and bathrooms.