Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Hunters Point Power Plant exhibit

Expand Messages
  • Alex Lantsberg
    Hi Neighbors, *Nearly 15 years ago I helped organize a powerful community-led campaign to close the Hunters Point Power Plant, which first opened in 1929.
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 16, 2013
      Hi Neighbors,

      Nearly 15 years ago I helped organize a powerful community-led campaign to close the Hunters Point Power Plant, which first opened in 1929.  Seven years later, I appealed Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s application to demolish the facility.  These photos are the remains of that effort and represent a marker of the community effort to reclaim Bayview Hunters Point from its legacy of environmental racism and injustice.  

      We are planning our opening reception on March 7, 2013 at the Bayview Opera House and are looking to include the work of other artists who focus on monumental architecture, adaptive reuse, and industrial detritus. Can you help?

      I appealed the HPPP’s demolition because I envisioned a revitalized structure as a physical monument to the symbol of the Bayview Hunters Point community’s successful ongoing struggle against industrial pollution and disinvestment.  The HPPP’s closure marked just one of major victories in the mid-90’s community fight to stop the construction of the neighborhood’s third power plant, bring the issue of environmental justice to City Hall, and clean up the legacy of pollution that had accompanied decades of industrial use and ultimate abandonment.  

      Adaptive reuse of 19th and early 20th century industrial structures had long been recognized as a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood’s unique characteristics and the Steam Plant seemed like the perfect candidate for similar reuse.  The massive concrete and steel structure was among the last remnants of the heavy industrial uses in Bayview Hunters Point’s India Basin neighborhood. India Basin was one of the cradles of BVHP heavy industrial uses that were virtually completely eliminated during the redevelopment of the old Butchertown into what is now India Basin Industrial Park.  Preserving the original structure and adapting it for public use with a modern building inside the old plant would not only serve as a powerful testament to the community’s strength but also a catalyst for its revitalization.  

      Unfortunately my vision was not to be. What I had underestimated in my effort was the depth of emotion that many of my neighbors, particularly elders, had for the plant.  On top of those still raw emotions, the plant’s demolition would also be a source of dozens of jobs for neighborhood residents. It became unsurprising that even long time friends and allies opposed my effort.

      While I could not save the original Steam Plant structure, I was able to ensure that some of its history would be preserved.  As part of the settlement to withdraw the permit appeal, PG&E agreed to fund a complete historic write-up on the plant and document its demolition in photos. This is the result 

      I hope that other artists are able to join this exhibit and I appreciate your support in helping round some folks up.

      Alex


    • Michael Hamman
      Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others. Then we somehow got
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 17, 2013
        Alex is so right on.   Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was pioneered in San Francisco with Ghirardelli  Square and many others.  Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results of which almost always disappoint.  All those visitors to San Francisco don't come here to look at Mission Bay.  It would be terrific if we could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well.   I look forward to the exhibit of the old power plant.
        Michael Hamman
        702 Earl Street
        San Francisco, CA 94124
        415-643-1376 Office
        415-265-0954 Cell
        mhamman@...
        
        On 1/16/2013 3:07 PM, Alex Lantsberg wrote:
         
        Hi Neighbors,

        Nearly 15 years ago I helped organize a powerful community-led campaign to close the Hunters Point Power Plant, which first opened in 1929.  Seven years later, I appealed Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s application to demolish the facility.  These photos are the remains of that effort and represent a marker of the community effort to reclaim Bayview Hunters Point from its legacy of environmental racism and injustice.  

        We are planning our opening reception on March 7, 2013 at the Bayview Opera House and are looking to include the work of other artists who focus on monumental architecture, adaptive reuse, and industrial detritus. Can you help?

        I appealed the HPPP’s demolition because I envisioned a revitalized structure as a physical monument to the symbol of the Bayview Hunters Point community’s successful ongoing struggle against industrial pollution and disinvestment.  The HPPP’s closure marked just one of major victories in the mid-90’s community fight to stop the construction of the neighborhood’s third power plant, bring the issue of environmental justice to City Hall, and clean up the legacy of pollution that had accompanied decades of industrial use and ultimate abandonment.  

        Adaptive reuse of 19th and early 20th century industrial structures had long been recognized as a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood’s unique characteristics and the Steam Plant seemed like the perfect candidate for similar reuse.  The massive concrete and steel structure was among the last remnants of the heavy industrial uses in Bayview Hunters Point’s India Basin neighborhood. India Basin was one of the cradles of BVHP heavy industrial uses that were virtually completely eliminated during the redevelopment of the old Butchertown into what is now India Basin Industrial Park.  Preserving the original structure and adapting it for public use with a modern building inside the old plant would not only serve as a powerful testament to the community’s strength but also a catalyst for its revitalization.  

        Unfortunately my vision was not to be. What I had underestimated in my effort was the depth of emotion that many of my neighbors, particularly elders, had for the plant.  On top of those still raw emotions, the plant’s demolition would also be a source of dozens of jobs for neighborhood residents. It became unsurprising that even long time friends and allies opposed my effort.

        While I could not save the original Steam Plant structure, I was able to ensure that some of its history would be preserved.  As part of the settlement to withdraw the permit appeal, PG&E agreed to fund a complete historic write-up on the plant and document its demolition in photos. This is the result 

        I hope that other artists are able to join this exhibit and I appreciate your support in helping round some folks up.

        Alex




      • deecastellani@...
        What an interesting story...looking forward to the exhibition and, yes, how sad the Steam Building couldn t be saved in a latter negotiation. This is a lesson
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 17, 2013
          What an interesting story...looking forward to the exhibition and, yes,
          how sad the Steam Building couldn't be saved in a latter negotiation.
          This is a lesson that even more is teaching why we need to preserve the memory of our place,
          specially for symbolic architectural elements with good structure for reuse.
          I'm thinking of the interesting and modern proposal of painting the 'rice silos complex',
          I like the Port of SF five years plan, no rush and low key respectful 'testing of the waters',
          I was raised in a country where the layers of history are respected and celebrated,
          too many times here demolitions and neurotic concepts of 'disposing' have just wiped out the proportions of a neighborhood and alienated their residents.
          I would love to see a huge Peace sign (which isnt 'stale') on the Towers, just a simple reminder that we are here to work ALL together, particularly in preserving India Basin, Bayview, the history of San Francisco and the bay!

          Sent from my iPad

          On Jan 17, 2013, at 4:39 PM, Michael Hamman <mhamman@...> wrote:

           

          Alex is so right on.   Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings 




        • ivan
          adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood s unique characteristics . *In some cases*. Like Ghirardelli Square, the
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 18, 2013
            "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*.

            Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

            (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

            And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

            For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

            I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

            Ivan

            --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
            >
            > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was
            > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others.
            > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results
            > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco
            > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we
            > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to
            > the exhibit of the old power plant.
            >
            > Michael Hamman
            > 702 Earl Street
            > San Francisco, CA 94124
            > 415-643-1376 Office
            > 415-265-0954 Cell
            > mhamman@...
            >
          • Armando Luna
            I agree with the reuse of the towers in a artistic way. It also allows our local. Artist to display their art. I m all for it Sent from my iPhone
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 18, 2013
              I agree with the reuse of the towers in a artistic way.  It also allows our local. Artist to display their art. I'm all for it

              Sent from my iPhone

              On Jan 18, 2013, at 10:00 AM, "ivan" <hulagun66@...> wrote:

               

              "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*.

              Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

              (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

              And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

              For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

              I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

              Ivan

              --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
              >
              > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was
              > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others.
              > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results
              > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco
              > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we
              > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to
              > the exhibit of the old power plant.
              >
              > Michael Hamman
              > 702 Earl Street
              > San Francisco, CA 94124
              > 415-643-1376 Office
              > 415-265-0954 Cell
              > mhamman@...
              >

            • Sean Karlin
              Sean D. Karlin seandkarlin@earthlink.net 415.265.8691.m
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 18, 2013

                Sean D. Karlin
                seandkarlin@...

                415.265.8691.m

                On Jan 18, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Armando Luna <mondocf@...> wrote:



                I agree with the reuse of the towers in a artistic way.  It also allows our local. Artist to display their art. I'm all for it

                Sent from my iPhone

                On Jan 18, 2013, at 10:00 AM, "ivan" <hulagun66@...> wrote:

                "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*. 

                Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

                (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

                And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

                For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

                I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

                Ivan

                --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
                >
                > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was 
                > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others. 
                > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results 
                > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco 
                > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we 
                > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to 
                > the exhibit of the old power plant.
                > 
                > Michael Hamman
                > 702 Earl Street
                > San Francisco, CA 94124
                > 415-643-1376 Office
                > 415-265-0954 Cell
                > mhamman@...
                > 




              • Alex Lantsberg
                quick correction everyone...the exhibit opening is *Friday, March 8th, *not March 7th. Apologies for the confusion.
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 18, 2013
                  quick correction everyone...the exhibit opening is Friday, March 8th, not March 7th.  Apologies for the confusion.


                  On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM, Sean Karlin <seandkarlin@...> wrote:
                   



                  On Jan 18, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Armando Luna <mondocf@...> wrote:



                  I agree with the reuse of the towers in a artistic way.  It also allows our local. Artist to display their art. I'm all for it

                  Sent from my iPhone

                  On Jan 18, 2013, at 10:00 AM, "ivan" <hulagun66@...> wrote:

                  "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*. 

                  Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

                  (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

                  And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

                  For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

                  I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

                  Ivan

                  --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
                  >
                  > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was 
                  > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others. 
                  > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results 
                  > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco 
                  > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we 
                  > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to 
                  > the exhibit of the old power plant.
                  > 
                  > Michael Hamman
                  > 702 Earl Street
                  > San Francisco, CA 94124
                  > 415-643-1376 Office
                  > 415-265-0954 Cell
                  > mhamman@...
                  > 





                • Alex Lantsberg
                  actually scratch that. it will be Thursday March 7th Alex via mobile
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 18, 2013

                    actually scratch that. it will be Thursday March 7th

                    Alex via mobile

                    On Jan 18, 2013 3:53 PM, "Alex Lantsberg" <lantsberg@...> wrote:
                    quick correction everyone...the exhibit opening is Friday, March 8th, not March 7th.  Apologies for the confusion.


                    On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM, Sean Karlin <seandkarlin@...> wrote:
                     



                    On Jan 18, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Armando Luna <mondocf@...> wrote:



                    I agree with the reuse of the towers in a artistic way.  It also allows our local. Artist to display their art. I'm all for it

                    Sent from my iPhone

                    On Jan 18, 2013, at 10:00 AM, "ivan" <hulagun66@...> wrote:

                    "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*. 

                    Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

                    (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

                    And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

                    For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

                    I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

                    Ivan

                    --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
                    >
                    > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was 
                    > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others. 
                    > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results 
                    > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco 
                    > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we 
                    > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to 
                    > the exhibit of the old power plant.
                    > 
                    > Michael Hamman
                    > 702 Earl Street
                    > San Francisco, CA 94124
                    > 415-643-1376 Office
                    > 415-265-0954 Cell
                    > mhamman@...
                    > 





                  • Jim Hunger
                    I agree, Ivan. My tendency is to support preservation of old structures if there is a decent argument for doing so. Usually this is aesthetic, or some kind of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 19, 2013
                      I agree, Ivan.

                      My tendency is to support preservation of old structures if there is a decent argument for doing so. Usually this is aesthetic, or some kind of historical value, which has been the case in postings here on BB. Repurposing, as happened with Ghirardelli Square and the old HPPP Steam Plant, is ideal if feasible. But there are some very serious drawbacks to the grain silos that make this unlikely. The foundation is compromised and the integrity of the buildings is not good. Further, the structure would be difficult to find an alternative purpose for that would make the extensive and expensive renovations required worthwhile. 

                      I always think of the Fallon Building on Market and Octavia with these discussions. When they were planning the design for the LGBT Community Center, the architects just wanted to tear this building down, and there was an understandable outcry from the community. The Fallon Building had historical value for the neighborhood, the city, and the gay community, as well as being a beautiful old Victorian building. Eventually they saved it, but the design for the portion of the Center that was the former Fallon Building could have been so much better. Apparently the architects weren't sensitive to the nuances and potential of an old building. They ruined a number of architectural details in order to create what proved to be a mediocre design.

                      If someone has a clever idea for repurposing the Bayview grain silos, I would love to see it. Someone posted a story about a grain silo being turned into a hotel, but I can't imagine this being feasible with the already structurally compromised grain silos. It would be great if there were an industrial purpose that could bring jobs into the neighborhood! However, I have gotten the impression that the grain silos are dangerous; if this is the case, it's a wonder that there have been no reports of accidents. This is another argument for tearing them down.

                      Jim


                      From: ivan <hulagun66@...>
                      To: betterbayview@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Fri, January 18, 2013 10:00:56 AM
                      Subject: [betterbayview] Re: Hunters Point Power Plant exhibit

                       

                      "adaptive reuse of structures is ... a way to successfully build upon a neighborhood's unique characteristics". *In some cases*.

                      Like Ghirardelli Square, the old HPPP Steam Plant was an excellent candidate because it was visually interesting and structurally in good condition. The Hunters Point restaurant Dago Mary's building was too, and held great memories for many, many local residents. It would have been great to see both these HP landmarks saved and celebrated.

                      (There are also dozens of lovely Art Deco and ornate Victorian private homes in our community that are in disrepair. If there is a community effort and City program to help owners restore and save them please post the info, I didnt find anything.)

                      And if a strong sentimentality exist among the longtime residents of HP Bayview for the good old days of rice storage and processing, let those voices be heard. All I hear is crickets.

                      For me, the rice silos unique character alone is not enough, which is why the idea to decorate them has some legs. But as they stand, they have no inherent design appeal. They are in a word ugly. Cant we do better than applying decorative overlays?

                      I like seeing the community beautified and put to work and thriving. I don't automatically promote raze-and-rebuild community improvement, but I don't want to be a NIMBY either. If something compelling could be done with these towers that would tangibly enhance this community's status or the well-being of a majority of it's residents, I'll be all for it.

                      Ivan

                      --- In betterbayview@yahoogroups.com, Michael Hamman wrote:
                      >
                      > Alex is so right on. Adaptive reuse of industrial buildings was
                      > pioneered in San Francisco with *Ghirardelli* *Square* and many others.
                      > Then we somehow got caught up in the demolish and build fad, the results
                      > of which almost always disappoint. All those visitors to San Francisco
                      > don't come here to look at Mission Bay. It would be terrific if we
                      > could find a way to reuse the Rice Towers as well. I look forward to
                      > the exhibit of the old power plant.
                      >
                      > Michael Hamman
                      > 702 Earl Street
                      > San Francisco, CA 94124
                      > 415-643-1376 Office
                      > 415-265-0954 Cell
                      > mhamman@...
                      >

                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.