Beyond EquisetumEquisetum
September 2011

Beyond Equisetum

It’s that time of year again, when the cold and foggy summer months are behind us and the scorching 65° heat of September brings people into the San Francisco streets (Valencia Street especially) to frolic and be merry. But we architects and designers are probably just as excited about the annual Architecture + the City Festival. This year’s theme is “The Architecture of Consequence” and it is coordinated in partnership with the Netherlands Architecture Institute – I studied in the Netherlands so I’m really pumped about this year’s events! Aside from my personal enthusiasm and participation, our office is also participating in the Festival by throwing a Cocktail Party and modern landscaping workshop called Beyond Equisetum at Flora Grubb Gardens. We’ll provide cocktails with Boor Brand mixers, experiment and discuss how to embrace the unruly, changeable, and ultimately uncontrollable aspects of nature. If you haven’t already, you can register here – hope to see you there!

We’ve participated in the festival for the past 4 years with tours of some of our most notable San Francisco projects – Ames Alley, Four Barrel, Flora Grubb, and an exhibit on our take on Vertical Gardens. This year, we are excited to see Four Barrel Parklet and Castro Commons in the celebratory mini-film about the festival (see below).

There’s heat, architecture, cocktails, and awesome plants. We’re smiling, aren’t you?

September 2011

Architecture & the City

Presented by AIA/SF and Center for Architecture + Design
Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges present Beyond Equisetum, a landscape design lecture with Flora Grubb Gardens

September 2011

The View from Within

Like the mixed emotions of a parent as they nurture their children through various stages toward independence, architects spend years creating, nurturing, and investing in our designs with the intent that they will go on to have successful ‘lives’ of their own. When a project’s construction is finished and the punch list is complete, we come to that moment when it’s time to hand over the reins; when our time and passion has resulted in a built environment that is independent of us, and effective and fulfilling for its owners and inhabitants.

In our practice the experience of habitation is greatly influential to the creative process.  So, I find it ironic how few architects get the opportunity to live in a house that they designed. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend 6 days in a ground-up house we just completed in Torrey, Utah:  affectionately referred to as the “CUB” (“Camp Utah Base”).

The experience was, to say the least, incredibly enlightening. My first day there, I admit that I couldn’t help but focus on the micro—the negotiated elements of the house. But then, as the spatial relationships began to sink in, being able to personally experience what we had created reconnected me with the broader, macro level and enabled me to see the house as a true manifestation of our design intent. My family could all simultaneously relax without having to compromise each others’ space, but also could enjoy time together on one part of the site while the rest of the house faded out of the picture.  The airflow and natural light of the interior spaces felt like we were at one with the surrounding landscape atmospherically, but ten steps beyond in comfort. The low awning windows and high clerestories gave us ventilation; the corner windows provided natural light all day and beautifully framed the starry night sky.

I left the CUB, like a parent having just witnessed her child excel at something on their own, reaffirmed that the result of our attentive, considered process will be just fine without us.