The most polarizing buildings in San Francisco

Love ’em or loathe ’em, these structures won’t be ignored

Thom Mayne’s jarring yet alluring Federal Building, an 18-story structure with a curtain of perforated steel punctuated by a large square cut-out framing a privately owned public park, and the Glen Park BART station, a concrete public transportation dream, divide many.

Architecture geeks admire them; others shield their eyes.

Here are a handful of San Francisco’s love-it-or-hate-it buildings. Many of them are of the contemporary variety, but also there are a few stalwarts in here for good measure.

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Top Causes of Commercial Building Fires

Commercial fires are almost certain to make headlines. While structures, alarms, safety equipment and response times are far superior to those of just decades ago, commercial fires are still happen. What are the likely causes of these fires in commercial structures like offices, stores, hotels, warehouses and manufacturing plants?

Arson

Intentional fires, or arson are the fifth leading cause of fires in the United States. Fires of a suspicious nature are not necessarily arson.

Smoking

While tobacco use is down, smoking materials are still a major cause of commercial fires. Businesses should have proper containers in designated smoking areas for cigarettes to be properly extinguished.

Electrical and Lighting

It is somewhat understandable that the amount of electrical wiring and lighting in a commercial building can make a structure susceptible to fires. Wiring and lighting fixtures should be updated in older buildings and wiring and circuit breakers need to be sufficient to meet today’s demands.

Heating Equipment

Heating equipment in commercial buildings, like homes, is a major contributor to fires in the country. Older equipment and space heaters are problematic in commercial structures, especially in buildings that remain empty overnights and on weekends. Never use household extension cords with space heaters and make sure they are turned off when not in use.

Union Bank Plaza undergoes $20 million renovation

The first phase in the historic preservation-minded rehabbing of Union Bank Plaza (UBP) in Downtown Los Angeles has wrapped up. Completed in 1967, the 40-story office tower, designed by Harrison & Abramovitz and Albert C. Martin & Associates in the International style, became the first L.A. skyscraper to be named as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) earlier this year by the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission following a unanimous 5–0 vote. The nominating application for HMU designation was put forth by the Los Angeles Conservancy in July 2019.

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LAFD Commercial Structure Fire

Just after 03:30​ hours, Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion 1 companies were dispatched to a reported structure fire in 17’s first-in at the intersection of Long Beach Ave. x Washington Blvd.

E14 was first on-scene and unable to locate any signs of fire. Upon further investigation, E17 found an outside rubbish fire impinging on a 100 x 300 single-story commercial building on the 2700 blk. of S. Long Beach Ave. (14’s first-in), approximately half a mile south of the reported intersection.

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Understanding Building Construction Types

Buildings are broken down into five categories (Types 1–5), ranging from the stoutest of construction to that which will most likely fail rapidly when under fire conditions. Each building type has specific characteristics that ladder companies must be familiar with so that they are able to ventilate the building in the safest and most efficient way possible.

A building is best identified during preplanning, but there are distinct features that will help firefighters identify the building type as they pull up on scene. There are also several diagnostic techniques that ladder companies can use when they’re up close and personal with a building.

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Rising Construction Costs

Labor and materials are arguably the two most critical ingredients of any construction project. No buildings transform skylines, no bridges span rivers and no homes rise from foundations without them. That’s why pricing of these two production components can mean cost-cutting is in store for other areas of the job budget or, given steep-enough increases, the scuttling of the project altogether.

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Arts District High Rise Starts Work

San Francisco-based developer Carmel Part­ners has broken ground on its first Arts District project. The planned 35-story project designed by Works Progress Architecture will rise at 520 S. Mateo St., near the Fourth Street Bridge. The main tower will include 475 live/work apartments, including 50 affordable units.

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Under Construction Building Fires

The potential for extensive damage during a fire event is greatest when a building is under construction because it is largely unprotected. Code-required fire-suppression systems such as sprinklers and fire walls are typically nonexistent until a building is near completion. Regardless of the material used in a building’s construction, prolonged exposure to fire without mitigation can lead to structural weakness and potential collapse. However, a building does not spontaneously combust. Fires that occur during the construction process are most often attributable to human error, but in instances when a fire starts during a non-work time frame, arson can also be a cause.

Hewitt Street Getting a Hotel

Yet another hotel has been announced for the Arts District. Hospitality firm the Radisson Hotel Group announced plans to construct a 140-room Radisson RED hotel at 440 S. Hewitt St. A groundbreaking date has not been set, but the company expects it to open in early 2024.

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Construction Fire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A huge fire at an apartment building under construction in suburban Kansas City has sparked fires at several homes blocks away.

The eight-alarm fire broke out about 3:30 p.m. Monday at the multimillion-dollar CityPlace development in Overland Park, Kansas, sending plumes of smoke and embers toward homes in the suburban neighborhood nearby, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/2nLM3Hg ).

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