Loading Events
  • 2021 AIASF International Waterfronts Symposium

    << All Events

    2021 AIASF International Waterfronts Symposium

    Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 9:00 am - Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 11:00 am PST

    Day 1 Registration: AIA Member: $25 | General Admission: $35 | Student: $10
    Day 2 Registration: AIA Member: $25 | General Admission: $35 | Student: $10
    Two-Day Registration: AIA Member: $40 | General Admission: $60 | Student: $15

    Co-presented by AIASF and the Center for Architecture + Design, and led by the AIASF International Practice Committee, the 2021 International Waterfronts Symposium synthesizes a series of waterfronts panel discussions earlier in 2020. The series explored specific international recommendations for future consideration within the context of current and developing regulatory and project delivery frameworks in San Francisco.

    This Symposium brings speakers from local jurisdictions, owners, and developers together with designers, planners and waterfront visionaries to find ways to put innovation to work for San Francisco and share waterfront perspectives with the world.

    This presentation comes at a time when reduced port activity, underutilized land and sea-level rise present unique development opportunities and challenges to San Francisco’s waterfronts. San Francisco is one of the world’s most well-known and storied global waterfront cities but it now faces significant challenges in protecting its historic assets, improving resilience, activating and improving access along its diverse waterfront edge. International designers offer lessons learned and innovative tools through their successful waterfront planning, design and development for consideration by local owners, developers and regulators.

    Join us for this 2-day Symposium, which features presentations that include input from owners, regulators, developers as well as international design practices on global waterfront projects. The synthesis of viewpoints will offer valuable insight and solutions for current challenges facing the City of San Francisco’s waterfront and provides a point of common dialog between designers, owners and developers during panels that are moderated by well-established thought leaders from respected media publishers.

    Bronze Level Sponsor

    Community Partners
    AIA East Bay Chapter
    AIA San Mateo County
    Greenbelt Alliance
    Housing Action Coalition (HAC)
    Marin Builders Association

    Interested in sponsoring the International Waterfronts Symposium?
    Contact us at sponsorship@aiasf.org

    Day 1: Thursday, February 18 | The State of Our Waterfront (& Global Context) (2.0 LU)

    Gabriel Metcalf, CEO, Committee for Sydney (former CEO, SPUR)

    Session 1: San Francisco’s Waterfront Challenges
    (Moderator) Sarah Phillip Dennis, Senior Director (Development), Tishman Speyer
    Diane Oshima, Deputy Director, Planning & Environment, Port of San Francisco
    Elisa Hernandez Skaggs, AIA, Associate Principal, Page & Turnbull
    Norion Ubechel, CEO/Co-Founder, Place Intelligence

    Session 2: International Waterfront Cities
    (Moderator) John King, Urban Design Critic, The San Francisco Chronicle
    Vance Harris, Partner, Vancouver Studio Chair, DIALOG
    Martin Lee, Principal, Hassell
    Kristian Villadsen, Partner, Director, Gehl

    Learning Objectives

    1. Gain an understanding of the charge (custodial charter) and challenges on (economic, social and environmental requirements as well as projected benefits, shortfalls, and current strategic planning) for specific SF waterfront components;
    2. Learn about applicable approaches taken in other cities around the world (design tools including analysis/ synthesis);
    3. Understand historical context and past use to creatively negotiate for uniqueness of place;
    4. Understand the complexities of multi-modal urban space and its relationship to the city.

    Day 2: Friday, February 19 | Strategies for a Better Shoreline (2.0 LU)

    Kai Uwe-Bergmann, FAIA Partner, BIG

    Session 1: Future Waterfront Development & The Public Benefits
    (Moderator) Corey Smith, Deputy Director, Housing Action Coalition (HAC)
    Ruben Rodriguez, Vice President (Developments), WT Partnership (North America)
    Anne Taupier, Acting Director, SF Office of Economic & Workforce Development
    Lou Vasquez, Principal/Partner, BUILD

    Session 2: Innovation in Design + Delivery of Waterfront Projects
    (Moderator) Gerry Tierney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Principal/Co-Director Mobility Lab, Perkins + Will
    Kevin Conger, PLA FASLA, Partner, CMG Landscape Architecture
    Kristen Hall, Urban Design Principal, Kristen Hall City Design
    Michelle Huttenhoff, Planning Policy Director, SPUR

    Learning Objectives

    1. Inspired by opportunities under investigation by local owners, developers, planners and regulators;
    2. Possibilities for enhanced realization of these goals by adaptation of vision and tools used internationally;
    3. With tools of recent waterfront innovators laid out for examination, the participants will have the opportunity to consider the application of those tools by conceptual overlay onto local context;
    4. The role of designers can play in shaping a vision that acknowledges unknown futures while also setting in motion opportunities for continued transformations driven by population changes, economic values, and climate impacts.

    Image Credit: Bryan Allo Photography

    Keynote Bios

    Gabriel Metcalf, CEO, Committee for Sydney (former CEO, SPUR)
    Gabriel is the CEO of the Committee of Sydney, an independent think tank advocating for a Sydney that works for everyone. Prior to commencing at the Committee in January of 2019, he served as the President and CEO of SPUR, one of the preeminent urban planning organizations in the United States. He led SPUR for 14 years, through a major expansion of its work. Gabriel has authored or co-authored such notable articles as Sand Castles Before the Tide: Affordable Housing in Expensive Cities, The Northern California Megaregion, The San Francisco Exodus and The Great Dithering. He is also the author of Democratic by Design (St. Martin’s Press, 2015). As a founder of the North American car-sharing movement, a housing activist, a consultant to cities around the world, and a strategist for forward-looking urban policy in greater Sydney, Gabriel brings a balance of vision and practicality to his work. A frequent writer and speaker on planning and policy topics, he earned a Master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design.

    Kai-Uwe Bergmann, FAIA, Partner, BIG
    Kai-Uwe brings his expertise to proposals around the globe, including work in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Kai-Uwe heads up BIG’s business development which currently has the office working in over 20 different countries as well as overseeing BIG’s Communications. Registered as an architect in the USA (eight states) and Canada (one province), Kai-Uwe most recently contributed to the resiliency plan The Dryline to protect 10 miles of Manhattan’s coastline. He compliments his professional work through previous teaching assignments at the University of Florida, the New School of Architecture in San Diego and his alma mater the University of Virginia. Kai-Uwe also sits on the Board of the Van Alen Institute, participates on numerous international juries and lectures globally on the works of BIG.

    Speaker Bios

    (L-R) Top Row: Kevin Conger, Kristen Hall, Vance Harris, Michelle Huttenhoff
    2nd Row: John King, Martin Lee, Diane Oshima, Sarah Dennis Phillips
    3rd Row: Ruben Rodriguez, Elisa Hernandez Skaggs, Corey Smith, Anne Taupier
    Bottom Row: Gerry Tierney, Norion Ubechel, Lou Vasquez, Kristian Villadsen

    Kevin Conger, PLA FASLA, Partner, CMG Landscape Architecture
    Kevin promotes equitable democratic public space and urban ecology as the cornerstones for social and ecological resilience in projects that include the regeneration of the defunct military bases at Treasure Island and Hunters Point; Bay Meadows racetrack redevelopment; the redesign of Market Street to remove cars and improve transit and public spaces; the expansion of Moscone Convention Center; and the community based Yerba Buena Streetlife Plan among many others.

    Kristen Hall, Urban Design Principal, Kristen Hall City Design
    Kristen is an urban designer and city planner who specializes in  complex urban infill projects in politically challenging landscapes. Her  work centers on creating equitable, sustainable, and resilient communities. She has played a prominent role in the transformation of  San Francisco's Central Waterfront, leading the urban design for a number of  large, post-industrial projects, including Mission Rock with the San  Francisco Giants, and the redevelopment of the Potrero Power Station. Through her experience both in the US and internationally, she has  worked across many different scales and contexts to design master plans,  write guidelines, direct public outreach, lead entitlement processes,  and create implementation strategies.

    Michelle Huttenhoff, Planning Policy Director, SPUR
    Michelle currently leads a variety of policy and research initiatives that focus on community planning and public space. One of Michelle's latest focuses includes a multi-year research project to inform the future of San José’s largest urban green space, Guadalupe River Park. Michelle previously served as the Economic Development Manager at the City of Miami Beach where she was responsible for directing and creating proactive strategies and innovative programs to stimulate economic growth and increase core-city vibrancy. In this role, Michelle led the integration of the City’s first open data tool to better support local business and real estate development and led community design plans in Mid, North and South Beach.

    Vance Harris, Partner, Vancouver Studio Chair, DIALOG
    Vance brings his passion for design, technical coordination, and leadership to the DIALOG team. He uses his wide range of skills for a diverse set of project types, including transit infrastructure, complex mixed-use residential, civic, hospitality, and public art. Vance has led design and coordination efforts on game-changing light rail projects in several large Canadian cities. In each case, his work begins with analyzing community land-use patterns, and finishes with thoughtfully detailing the passenger realm. Vance has coordinated many major public art installations, including the Royal Canadian Navy Monument in the nation’s capital. He is currently interested in exploring the use of mass timber technology in private developments. Vance now leads an international team of consultants as Principal-in-Charge of the iconic Vancouver House project.

    John King, Urban Design Critic, San Francisco Chronicle
    John King is The San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic, taking stock of everything from Salesforce Tower to public spaces and homeless navigation centers. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of two books on San Francisco architecture, King joined The Chronicle in 1992 and covered City Hall before creating his current post in 2001. He spent the spring of 2018 as a Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.

    Martin Lee, Principal, Hassell
    Martin is a Glasgow-born architect and has a broad spectrum of award-winning work across London, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong. Martin played a lead role in the design of Hassell’s award-winning waterfront Darling Harbor Live precinct and events buildings in Sydney. Through all of his global experience, Martin has developed a knack for bringing emerging thinking and ideas from all over the world to everything he designs. Martin’s infectious energy leaves colleagues and clients feeling confident and optimistic. He understands what inspires people — and his work reflects a lifetime of observing how people use space.

    Diane Oshima, Deputy Director, Planning & Environment, Port of San Francisco
    Diane began her career with the Port in 1998. Diane and her team is responsible for managing land use planning and policy for Port facilities that support ten maritime industries and a diverse mix of industrial, commercial, recreational and public activities which together have created a vibrant urban waterfront. Her team has expertise in historic preservation, environmental protection and sustainability, waterfront urban design and open space planning, implementation and regulatory compliance. She oversees 20 employees. Before joining the Port of San Francisco, Diane worked for the San Francisco Planning Department for 17 years and oversaw many development, area plan and policy projects, that involved multiple City and public agencies.

    Sarah Dennis Phillips, Senior Director (Development), Tishman Speyer
    Sarah manages both pre- and post-entitlement development projects such as Brannan Square, a 1MSF development breaking ground shortly in the South of Market neighborhood. Prior to that, Sarah held key real estate positions with the City & County of San Francisco. Most recently, Sarah served as the Deputy Director of Development under Mayor London Breed, managing the City’s interests in major public-private development projects, and serving as a key advisor on planning, land use and development issues in San Francisco.  Sarah negotiated and managed the approval of key public and private initiatives like the Central SOMA Plan and Forest City’s Pier 70 project along San Francisco’s southern waterfront, and initiated numerous housing initiatives. Previously, Sarah managed the Citywide (long-range) Planning Division within the San Francisco Planning Department.

    Ruben Rodriguez, Vice President (Developments), WT Partnership (North America)
    Joining WT Partnership in 2019, Ruben brings with him over 25 years of US public and private sector operations and senior construction management experience across a variety of industry sectors including aviation, commuter rail, parking, lighting, higher education, vertical and horizontal infrastructure. Born in London, U.K.  A U.S. military father from San Antonio, Texas and cockney mother from south London. Ruben’s first job was as a trainee Q.S. for an old established London firm. After changing career paths in the industry to a trainee Project Manager Ruben has 40+ years continuous P.M. participation in major projects from the U.K. to Malaysia and the U.S.A. Residing permanently in the U.S. since 1994 Ruben’s guiding philosophy of the 4Cs, Collaboration, Communication, Control and Commitment has held Ruben in good esteem as a Trusted Advisor to many clients both in the private and public arenas.

    Elisa Hernandez Skaggs, AIA, Associate Principal, Page & Turnbull
    An associate at Page & Turnbull, a firm committed to the re-use and renewal of historic structures, Elisa has a broad range of experience in adaptive re-use, renovation, and rehabilitation. Her professional experience includes preservation consultation, entitlements, tax credit consultation, historic structure reports, and code review for historic buildings. She has served as a project manager for numerous waterfront projects in the Bay Area, including Ghirardelli Square; Piers 1 ½, 3, and 5; the Wyman Residences in the Presidio; the Hallidie Building; and the Exploratorium at Pier 15. As Co-Chair of the AIA San Francisco Historic Resources Committee, Elisa has been able to maintain a high level of community involvement.

    Corey Smith, Deputy Director, Housing Action Coalition (HAC)
    Corey joined HAC as their newest community organizer in January 2016 after spending two years as a data analyst and NBA scout in Hawaii. An East Bay native, he’s an avid Bay Area sports fan and political junkie. Corey holds an MBA from Hawai’i Pacific University and a BS in Economics from the University of Oregon.

    Anne Taupier, Director of Development,San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development
    Mayor Breed appointed Anne to the of Director of Development in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development in March of 2020. Prior to this appointment, Anne worked for over 10 years as a senior project manager on that office’s Joint Development team. Her focus in the Director’s position is on recognizing that housing affordability is a global crisis and the Joint Development team will be exploring and identifying the best practices and innovative solutions to address this crisis as it impacts San Francisco. Anne has worked on projects including: The Hunter’s Point Shipyard, America’s Cup, 5M, The Plumber’s Union Mixed-Use project, The Conservatory of Music student housing project, India Basin, The Flower Mart project, Central SOMA and The HUB area plans as well as Balboa Reservoir, and Potrero Power Station.

    Gerry Tierney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C  Senior Project Manager, Associate Principal Co-Director, Mobility Lab, Perkins&Will
    Studying the evolution of urban mobility and its impact on the public realm, Gerry is a founder in 2009 of the Mobility and the City’s REDCAR project and has collaborated with UC Berkeley’s TSRC on workshops addressing multiple aspects of evolving urban mobility. He has moderated panels at MIT’s 2015 Disrupting Mobility Summit, the 2016 AutomobilityLA “2050: City of the Autonomous Car” and has presented on the impacts of emerging mobility at the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association annual conferences, as well as at the University of Oregon’s SCI Urbanism Next Conferences. Most recently he was a member of the expert committee for the Future of Public Transit and Shared Mobility Scenario Planning Workshop, sponsored by the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies, the California Resilient and Innovative Mobility Initiative, the Transportation Research Board and the Climate Works Foundation.

    Norion Ubechel, Co-Founder & CEO, Place Intelligence
    Norion is a creative professional focused on solving global challenges using design thinking to develop innovative technologies for the built environment sector. He specializes in creating dynamic and vibrant urban places using best practice and innovative urban design principles backed by deep insights derived via big data analytics. Norion has an in depth skill set in urban planning and design management, spatial planning and forecasting, project / program planning, capital development planning and stakeholder engagement. He has worked as urban strategist and planning professional in the US and Australia, and holds a Bachelors degree in Environmental Design and a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico

    Lou Vasquez, Founding Partner and Managing Director, BUILD
    Lou oversees BUILD’S business strategy and executive management. Over the course of his 30-year career in real estate development, Lou has participated in the acquisition, entitlement, development, construction and management of more than $1 billion of residential and commercial product. Prior to forming BUILD in 2004, Lou worked in senior management at a number of prominent residential and commercial real estate development companies in the Bay Area, including Trammell Crow, Greenbriar Homes, Bay Communities, Oxford Development, and Archstone Communities. Through his volunteer work as a board member of Habitat for Humanity and as a founding board member of the Mission Preparatory School, Lou is committed to ensuring that San Francisco remains a diverse city providing opportunities for its most vulnerable citizens.

    Kristian Villadsen, Partner, Director, Gehl
    As Partner and Director at Gehl, Kristian operates in the span between political visions and the detailed urban design, which realizes the visions in the everyday life of cities. His focus is always on livability and social-, economical- and environmental sustainability, whether the work is on future of mobility, masterplanning, revitalization strategies or urban policies. Kristian has worked with a number of leading cities, developers, organizations and NGO’s, across Europe, North America and China. Kristian has contributed to several books, exhibitions and films and has been connected to the academic world as an external lecturer at a number of institutions, as well as being a much-used keynote speaker.

    Related resources:

    Presented by AIASF's Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee (UDIC) and International Practice Committee (IPC), the Public Shore Treasure Hunt offers the chance to win a prize by simply identifying some wonderful public shore access points in San Francisco and beyond through a virtual expedition.


    Catch up on these featured 2020 waterfronts programs now available on AIAU or click on images below to view details.

    Share This Event


    Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 9:00 am PST
    Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 11:00 am PST
    Event Categories:
    , , , , ,


    Online Event