835 Jackson Proposed

While most eyes remain on the wrangling between CPMC and Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is scheduled to certify the Chinese Hospital’s development and expansion plans, plans which require a zoning variance, conditional use authorization, and a General Plan amendment on Thursday.

According to San Francisco’s General Plan, development’s within the Chinatown Area Plan should “Promote a building form that harmonizes with the scale of existing buildings and width of Chinatown’s streets.” As proposed, the following language will be added to Policy 1.2 of the plan: “other than construction within the Chinese Hospital Special Use District.”

As the existing building at 835 Jackson Street and area scale currently appears:

835 Jackson Existing

19 thoughts on “Inharmonious San Francisco Hospital Happenings (Beyond CPMC)”
  1. Let’s just get on with building this much needed facility, as designed, and stop delaying the progress with endless speculation and personal bias.

  2. The proposed building is inharmonious in the extreme. Hopefully there will be forceful protest against it.

  3. The worst thing that can happen to a proposal is if neighborhood groups get involved in the design.
    I don’t like it, but why is it my place to try to force my opinion on others?

  4. It should be bigger.
    Much bigger.
    Befitting the birth site of Bruce Lee.
    Its footprint should extend out into the street and across it.
    To really get its “other than construction within the Chinese Hospital Special Use District” on.

  5. No snark17. It is not “inharmonious”. It’s just that it appears that you and others don’t like or understand change of any kind in this city, unless it resembles the past.
    This is an appropriate design, for a much needed facility, for a community that deserves an up to date modern hospital.

  6. futurist, please. You’re just wrong here. If there’s any reasonable definition of “inharmonious”, this project is it. This building basically clashes with every other building on either side of the street.
    No one has said that this facility isn’t “much needed”. Just because a facility is “much needed” and “the community deserves a hospital” does not imply that the building’s design has to jar the viewer by being so different from everything else present because the architect was either lazy or indifferent to or hostile to the existing built environment. The proposed design is being commented upon, not the need for a facility in general.
    If you want to say that you and the other members of the architecture illuminati who have sat through arch school critiques for a few years know better than everyone else, and so your precious opinion should count to the exclusion of others, go ahead and make that case.
    If you want to say that modernism should be the only kind of style of building built in San Francisco, and therefore that design language should be the only thing either proposed or approved for new buildings, please make that case: we’re reading.
    But just saying over and over again that this building doesn’t clash with the rest of the neighborhood isn’t going to fly, because that simply isn’t true, and even the most casual observer can understand that. Try not to insult the rest of us, okay?

  7. Futurist, there is no nead for rude personal attacks. I generally like modern buildings. This particular one is ugly and out of place IMO.

  8. It’s pretty ugly indeed. Why not borrowing from modern Chinese architecture instead of repeating the error of the awful Federal building? People hate it. Workers hate it. I am sure there are more pleasant designs and more appropriate. They might not allow architects to express their personal ennui in massive concrete, but at least let people enjoy something nice…

  9. If a new building is just plain ugly and someone points that out, the lazy response is “it appears that you and others don’t like or understand change of any kind in this city, unless it resembles the past”
    No, change is great. Ugly change is not.

  10. Oh, please. Spare me. Nothing rude or personal was said. Read again please.
    And no brahma, you were not being insulted.
    We’ve been over and over the design on many previous postings. It does get down to personal opinion on any give design. I get that.
    But I don’t believe, as many architects would agree with me, that we don’t need to create “fake historic” architecture just so that a new building may blend in, or be “harmonious”. And I will say it again: many citizens of this city simply do not like any architectural change, unless it resembles or mimics the past. That’s my opinion.
    I support this building and hope it gets built as designed, since it is strongly needed by the local community.

  11. There are plenty of options other than “fake historic”. A building this large and prominent needs to try harder.

  12. You can build something harmonious and still be innovative. No need to dump a huge brick of bland concrete to make a bold statement. To me these structure sound more like a proof that the architect has more political know-how than talent.
    Also there’s a very precise pecking order in the architecture business which kills much of the criticism of the big guns from the hoi polloi.

  13. @futurist
    “Let’s just get on with building this much needed facility, as designed, and stop delaying the progress with endless speculation and personal bias.” errr…make that …”delaying the (progressive’s) progress….”

  14. They should set the facade back a little bit. Currently, there’s a small front open area with benches and trees, creating an aura of openness on the otherwise narrow sidewalk. In the rendering, it looks like it’ll make the immediate sidewalk feel much more cramped.
    Setting the building back would also facilitate the movement of people going in and out.

  15. joh, the current zoning actually requires a setback along the lines you describe, which is one of many reasons why they want a variance for this project.
    So they can throw up this ugly monolithic concrete monstrosity.

  16. Yes, there are many differing opinions about this particular building. I still feel it is appropriate in scale, materials and overall form: for that particular client, budget and site.
    Having been part of a large design team previously on several complex hospitals, including VA Palo Alto, Stanford, UCSF, and others, I can attest to the fact that hospitals are probably THE most complex and expensive facilities to build.
    The client program and budget generally drive the design and overall footprint. Departmental relationships are critical. Vertical circulation is critical. Wayfinding is critical. Mechanical, electrical and structural systems all add complexity and cost into the mix.
    Setbacks, notches, complex floor plan layouts can drive up the cost tremendously and result in poorly functioning floor plates. Certainly,it can be done: Some clients are wealthy enough to afford those costly designs and have sufficient land and space to allow for a large facility to be broken up into many shapes.
    In this case, with this client and site, it seems to me that the simplest, most functional and cost effective building is the one being proposed. This is not a rich client. This is an extremely tight urban site.
    Having said that, I still feel this solution is appropriate and right for this location, without having to mimic, reflect, or pay homage to the surrounding (somewhat) historic, but dilapidated neighborhood.

  17. Chinatown is “somewhat” historic? It goes back nearly to the origin of the city.
    If the sponsor can’t afford a more attractive solution then they can always scale back a little as well. Most of the complaints are about the bland street facade. It really wouldn’t cost that much more to improve that small piece of an otherwise expensive building.
    As proposed this is the hospital equivalent of a McMansion: big, bland, and cheap.

  18. I have a Dumb Question.
    Why does a hospital have to go here?
    Futurist keeps invoking variations of the notion that, “This is an appropriate design, for a much needed facility, for a community that deserves an up to date modern hospital.”
    I imagine I’m not alone in having to transport myself to a hospital, by public transport or car or bike. I’ve been to an ER in the past 2 months – I didn’t walk to it.
    Futurist seems to assume that Chinatown “needs” a hospital. Does North Beach? The Marina? SoMa?
    Don’t all communities “deserve” a local hospital that one can walk to?
    Why does this space uniquely “need” a hospital and a giant variance?
    Or was that already asked & answered?

  19. Chinatown needs a hospital because its population is among the oldest and least mobile in the city, and it’s the city’s most densely populated district. So to serve that population in its own neighborhood is a priority.
    As to futurist’s claims that this is the “simplest, most functional and cost effective” design, that’s certainly true. I think the people who dislike it would agree: it looks like blunt value-engineered functionalism, lacking in style or grace. It’s a good design for a hospital, but it’s not a good fit on the street. The disagreement is how to balance those two concerns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *