Richard Rogers Transbay Transit Center Design

Forest City has launched a new website with a bit more video, renderings and background information on the Richard Rogers design proposal for San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center and Tower.

SOM Transbay Transit Center Entrance

And as a plugged-in tipster notes, the complete Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) presentation along with additional animations and renderings are now available online as well. And yes, we’re still looking for a similar site for the Pelli Clark Pelli proposal. Readers?

UPDATE: A nine-member panel (the “D/D Competition Jury”) is currently evaluating all three proposals and accepting public comment (as one reader notes and subtly lobbies…) through September 17th. On September 20th, a “Jury recommendation will be brought before the TJPA Board…at San Francisco City Hall at which time the Board will vote on the final proposal.” And then the fun (and lobbying) really begins.

31 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center + Tower: More Proposal Porn”
  1. The Richard Rogers design (upper photo) reminds me of an upscale Orange County shopping mall. (Let’s pass on that one.) But the Skidmore design (lower photo) evokes a truly futuristic train station–it’s sensational!

  2. SOM! SOM! SOM!
    Write the TJPA and tell them what you think. They’re deciding in 15 days.
    Email them:

  3. Not an architect or design person by any stretch…but isn’t that top photo of Tomorrowland missing the PeopleMover?

  4. They should be required to create renderings of what the interior areas will look like in 10 years, after years of little maintenance or upkeep, as is typical for city transportation facilities. (Think of what the interior of the typical Muni station, with grease- and dust-covered paint and an overall grimy appearance.
    I think I’d vote for the simplest design with the least effort required to clean and maintain, since that’s what we can expect – the least effort.

  5. The fact that even Socketsite has adopted the “porn” references for use in their guilty pleasure topics is satisfaction enough for me…
    And that’s exactly what these rendering are..”real estate porn.”

  6. Imagine if the money that MIGHT be spent to build this terminal were used instead to fix and expand Muni and Bart? I would rather have a terminal that was less pornfantastic, and instead have a true “world class” public transportation system. So we get a broken down urban transit system with a super expensive new terminal? In the N.Y. Times recently they had an article about how Chicago is refurbishing EVERY single subway station over the next ten years, putting in better computers to keep the trains moving faster and safer, and installing more security guards and new trains and busses. Imagine!

  7. Imagine a real transportation network to begin with.
    MUNI+BART+CalTrain+SamTrans+AC Transit != a real transit system. It’s a Franken-disaster.
    After visiting New York and London (Tube strike notwithstanding) recently, I’m even more amazed how piss-poor our transport options are here.

  8. They’ve supposedly got the design models and picture boards for all three designs set up in the Grand Lobby of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 701 Mission Street. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is open Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5:00 PM and Thursdays from Noon to 8:00 PM They’ll be there until September 16th for a look if you missed out on the City Hall preview.
    [Editor’s Note: The presentation boards are also available online as PDF files.]

  9. The Rogers design = McDonald’s. How can this crap even be compared to SOM. Was Rogers even serious about the competition? His model at the big unveiling presentation was a big cardboard box with red cladding up it, looks like it took 10 minutes to put together. I just don’t see as much thought in his stuff, comes off as quite lazy to me.

  10. anon94123 though I can’t disagree that we need better transit in San Francisco this project is hugely important to support regional transportation
    What we decidedly do not need is more Bart to the suburbs (which is where it would be built). This is one of our biggest problems. Bart as commuter rail is obscenely expensive and ineffective. The system we have now is a big part of our problem and why we are stuck with Muni in the City
    This new terminal could one day support real commuter rail in the greater Bay Area (which can be better than Bart) as well as HSR both of which we desperately need

  11. I’m not that huge of a fan of the Rogers tower but the new Rogers-designed Madrid airport (which the the transbay terminal design resembles) is quite spectacular in person.

  12. “Bart as commuter rail is obscenely expensive and ineffective. The system we have now is a big part of our problem and why we are stuck with Muni in the City”
    And this new terminal is not expensive?! Do you know what you could build for 3 billion dollars? How about a Muni Line under Van Ness and under Lombard? We here in San Francisco still do not have a real alternative to the car if we want to travel quickly from north to south through the city, or out west to the Ocean. I wish there was an underground line below Geary also. Imagine going from outer Geary to Union Square in 18 minutes? It would be possible if this money was spent differently. The best way to get me out of my car is by giving me an alternative that saves time. I am not interested in an expensive terminal with a shopping mall.

  13. I agree that our bus service to the neighborhoods out west and south of downtown could use some work. However, the practicality is not there unless you increase bus fares for starters. Are folks willing to pay $75 for a Muni pass each month and maybe $2.25 for bus fare? The funding for Phase I of this new Transit center is provided by the Feds and other sources, and it is already in the bank – and better yet, the property tax revenues from the high-rise may just help Muni out (along with other City services) down the road … thus the desire to go up to 1200′ or so, to provide recurring property tax receipts for the City. Unfortunately, the retiree healthcare benefits are going to eat up a lot of the City’s budget going forward.

  14. Jamie, I am not anti-transbay btw, just curious about the need for a terminal before an upgrade of MUNI in the city. The average cost in the U.S. is now about 270 million a mile for an underground subway (from a google search), so digging new tunnels is not cheap, but in a city as small as San Francsico, 14 new underground miles would make a world of difference for those of us on the north side of the city as well as those on the west side. The idea of going from Cow Hollow to Market street in about 4 minutes and then to be able to transfer to Bart or other lines would finally allow many of us to give up our cars.

  15. Considering the central subway is going to cost 2 billion (easily when it is all said and done) for 1.7 miles I find this claim dubious
    “Do you know what you could build for 3 billion dollars? How about a Muni Line under Van Ness and under Lombard? ”
    You should also understand that the upzoning of this land and the capture of its increased value is what is paying for the terminal and not tax money
    So its really apples to oranges. Central subway is being paid for by the Fed, California and us
    This is being paid for, at least phase I, by the developer

  16. I think the part that is strange about Transbay is that it is a cart before the horse. It is true that the terminal which will be fully operational in 2019 will be partially funded by developement projects, but where does that leave MUNI and the so-called high speed trains? As of right now, the only uses other than shopping that I can see are Muni,bus riders and Caltrain with a ped. tunnel to BART. I would be happy to pay for a better MUNI and BART system to go with the new Terminal. I would also like to see the currently dead high speed train project start up again.
    As a former New Yorker, having one subway line under Market Street does not make it a “subway system”. So is this really just the world’s most expsensive bus terminal or will it truly be a transit hub?

  17. I’m firmly in the ‘build any of them’ camp. I just want to see the current god-awful Transbay Terminal replaced! It’d be great if we can get HSR too, but, I’d be content with that current eyesore being swapped with anything that is more aesthetically pleasing.

  18. You guys like the SOM proposal so much? it doesn’t even meet the budget. and the team was dumb enough not to read the instructions of the competition that they designed a terminal that doesn’t even work. During the public presentation the Head of AC transit said there was a HUGE “fatal flaw” in the SOM proposal (their stacked transit proposal will cause a huge bottleneck, traffic and even more pollution) and the response of the Architect…”um nobody said we couldn’t do it”

  19. Just think, without any delays we can expect to see this in 2019! Only 12 years away from being completed (according to their own website) The Golden Gate Bridge was built in four years. This terminal could be built in Dubai in 2 years. Chicago would do it in about 3 years (with kick backs of course). This city is drowning in its excessive layers of government.

  20. anonarch- well put. If we keep continuing on this path, we can forget about being anything close to the 21st century city, as the 21st century hasn’t even reached San Francisco’s skyline or public transportation yet.

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