John King pens a column today about a lovely, white, 34-story residential tower that could eventually rise at the corner of Van Ness and Market (where that little doughnut shop is now), designed by starchitect Richard Meier, of Getty Center fame. A new proposed design has just dropped involving a diaphanous glass skin, and the thing sure would be pretty if it ever got built, but as King is quick to point out, "Until they actually get built, towers are malleable things."
The potential pitfalls for this project are many: 1) the developers don't yet own the land they want to build on; 2) there hasn't even been a single public hearing on the project yet, with one tentatively scheduled for the fall; 3) San Franciscans historically hate tall things, and the number of potential compromises that could be forced upon this design are legion; 4) Meier himself doesn't know how they'll accomplish the glass skinning thing, and it's the first time he's done such a thing on a building, but he *thinks* it could work; 5) there aren't any other tall buildings anywhere near this site that approach this height, and King points out this area is already a wind tunnel and, so the environmental review will be a nightmare; 6) did we mention San Franciscans hate tall things? (See also the argument that ensued in the comments on this post about the Transbay Tower getting shorter.)
Still, King is trying to stay positive about the whole thing. He says, "it's worth taking a look at the tower ... for what it reveals about the current state of skyscraper design," and "The architectural stakes have been raised during the past decade in San Francisco and other large cities, and that's exciting." Also, "There's value in seeing the ways that talented outsiders respond to our local terrain."
So yeah, it REALLY MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN. But ain't it nice to dream.