Past and Present Visions of San Francisco's Future

Preamble

 

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The Burnham Plan

The Burnham Plan, Telegraph Hill and North Beach  (1905)

The Burnham Plan, Telegraph Hill and North Beach  (1905)

Tinted skyscrapers for San Francisco (Timothy Pflueger, left and Hugh Ferriss, right) 1920s

United Nations Headquarters

Vincent G. Raney, United Nations Headquarters in San Francisco (c. 1945)

Vincent G. Raney, United Nations Headquarters in San Francisco (c. 1945)

Freeway through Russian Hill

Eight lane freewway to be cut through under Russian Hill, leading from the Embarcadero to Golden Gate Bridge (1958)

Eight lane freewway to be cut through under Russian Hill, leading from the Embarcadero to Golden Gate Bridge (1958)

The Rise of SOMA

San Francisco in 2020, imagined in 2007 (source: unknown) with South of Market (SOMA) as the primary area of new growth

San Francisco in 2020, imagined in 2007 (source: unknown) with South of Market (SOMA) as the primary area of new growth

Hydro-Net

San Francisco as seen by the IwamotoScott Hydro-Net project (2008)

San Francisco as seen by the IwamotoScott Hydro-Net project (2008)

Drones, Copters, Hyperloop and Apple Pyramid (Chris Dannen, Fastcolabs, 2014)

Star Trek

San Francisco in the 24th century, as imagined in Star Trek (2012)

San Francisco in the 24th century, as imagined in Star Trek (2012)

Embarcadero Aviation Platform and Elevated Highway (Lewis Hobart, 1926)

The Waterfront with "Discopters"

The future look of San Francisco as imagined in 1975 by Alexander Weygers in 1950. The artist had received a patent for his "discopter," and pictured the city with wharf-side, and rooftop landing spaces for his futuristic vehicles

Videogame San Francisco Waterfront

Transbay Ferry Terminal (videogame), by Paul Rand Pierce, 2012

Earliest Plan for a New San Francisco City Hall

A plan by "Stewart" for a new city hall at Portsmouth Plaza, 1853

A plan by "Stewart" for a new city hall at Portsmouth Plaza, 1853

Competition designs for a new city hall following the 1906 disaster

Competition Design, San Francisco City Hall, 1912.

Competition Design, San Francisco City Hall, 1912.

James Burnham's Athenaeum

The Burnham Athenaeum (1905) looking west over Lake Merced "The Athenaeum, so called, should receive some few of the greatest works of art. It would consist of courts, terraces and colonnaded shelters. These latter would be arranged after the manner of the great Poecile of the Villa Hadrian. This consists of a wall so built as to collect the warmth of the sun and afford protection from the wind." -- James Burnham

The Burnham Athenaeum (1905) looking west over Lake Merced

"The Athenaeum, so called, should receive some few of the greatest works of art. It would consist of courts, terraces and colonnaded shelters. These latter would be arranged after the manner of the great Poecile of the Villa Hadrian. This consists of a wall so built as to collect the warmth of the sun and afford protection from the wind." -- James Burnham

Cliff Houses

Two proposals for a new Cliff House after the destruction of the previous building in 1907.

Two proposals for a new Cliff House after the destruction of the previous building in 1907.

Visionary San Francisco State

Moshe Safdie's design for a new student building, San Francisco State College, 1968

Moshe Safdie's design for a new student building, San Francisco State College, 1968

Parkmerced

Parkmerced redesigned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (2013)

Parkmerced redesigned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (2013)

The Presidio

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (2013)

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum (2013)

The Bridges

Emperor Norton's Proclamation for Three Bridges

On August 18, 1869, Emperor Norton issued this proclamation for bridges to be built from Oakland to San Francisco, then to Sausalito, then to the Farallon Islands

First design for Golden Gate Bridge

Original 1922 Golden Gate Bridge Design Proposal by Joseph Strauss (final design based on work of Charles Alton Ellis)

BART and the Bridge

Plan to run BART on a new lower deck of Golden Gate Bridge (1955-1961)

The Bay Bridge Apartments

Proposed Bay Bridge design, with living apartments built into the towers, by Louis Christian Mullgardt, 1924

Transbay Transit Terminal

Transbay Terminal with elevated park, scheduled for completion in the fall, 2017 (Pelli, Ckarke, Pelli, architects)

High Speed Rail

California High Speed Rail Overview, scheduled for completion in 2029

California High Speed Rail Overview, scheduled for completion in 2029

Swig Stadium

Proposal by Ben Swig for a Ballpark in SOMA (date unknown)

Proposal by Ben Swig for a Ballpark in SOMA (date unknown)

Candlestick Makeover

Proposed 49er Stadium in Candlestick-Hunter's Point Area (2007)

Americas Cup Hopes

Americas Cup design for Piers 30-32 (2010)

Americas Cup design for Piers 30-32 (2010)

Warriors Stadium in the Bay

Warriors Stadium (2013)

Warriors Stadium (2013)

Alcatraz

Global Peace Center copy.jpg

Alcatraz, as proposed by the Global Peace Foundation, 2008

More designs for Alcatraz

Treasure Island

A "green plan" for Treasure Island, 2007: 6,000 housing units, 20 acre organic farm, "an ecological educational and art park" and more

A "green plan" for Treasure Island, 2007: 6,000 housing units, 20 acre organic farm, "an ecological educational and art park" and more

Paypal Paradise

Two views of Paypal founder Peter Thiel's plan for a floating city off the coast of San Francisco, 2011 (Renderings: dailymail.co.uk)

Two views of Paypal founder Peter Thiel's plan for a floating city off the coast of San Francisco, 2011 (Renderings: dailymail.co.uk)

Farallon Fantasy

Farallon Islands Fantasy: Photo by Richard Von Trapp & John Duggan; Art by Kazumasa Uchio; Photoshop by Dr_Sequoia (2015)

Farallon Islands Fantasy: Photo by Richard Von Trapp & John Duggan; Art by Kazumasa Uchio; Photoshop by Dr_Sequoia (2015)

Illustration for George R. Steward's The Earth Abides (1949)

Illustration for George R. Steward's The Earth Abides (1949)

Magneto re-routes Golden Gate Bridge! (2014)

San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas (2015)

Bret Harte's Poetic Vision of Future San Francisco

“What is it that lifts San Francisco out of the wallow? They are not the children of men who were bold and daring in the seventeenth century, but the children of the men who were bold and daring in the mid-nineteenth.” -- H.L. Mencken