President's Message by David Regester AIA
Friday, July 29, 2016
Posted by: April Becerra
Roadtrip: Imagine Plus!
by David Regester, AIA
Hawley Peterson Snyder
AIASCV 2016 President
Up and down Highway 5 my entire life and I had never imagined stopping in Redding . . . unless the needle was on empty. Now a stop with my young family is nearly mandatory due to the Sundial bridge. But it’s not just a tourist stop, it’s clearly become the center of the Redding community, joggers, hikers, young families, young professionals, the professionally tattooed, and retirees enjoying the splendor of the river, the new arboretum, and the mountains beyond. Groups gather there and chance encounters of friends are evident. No one ‘needed’ that bridge, now it seems indispensable. “Imagine Plus” was the theme of the recent National Convention. Some Redding citizens imagined something plus the river, Calatrava, CBJ, and others helped supply the pieces of the vision. A quick detour off Highway 5 and you’ll find all the markings of a truly transformative design, a project that leverages a pre-existing natural feature and heightens your awareness of nature and of community.
Here in the valley, we don’t need a cable-stayed pedestrian bridge with a glass deck and we don’t have Turtle Bay. Too much traffic and too little housing are the issues facing Silicon Valley! Clusters of tower cranes move from completed projects: Samsung (NBBJ), Apple II(Foster) to projects just coming out of the ground: Nvidia (Gensler), Apple III(HOK) and a plethora of spec. office building campuses. We’re now into mega-project fatigue: no new nothing anywhere near anything! Still 250,000 new residents are to arrive in the next few years. Simultaneously cities across the United States have strategies to create areas specifically targeted for tomorrow’s innovators and attract them to less costly areas. While the valley now has plenty of monetary capital to fuel growth, creative capital is a fragile resource. Disruptors don’t always follow the money, they don’t always join the company with the best package, they sometimes simply want a cheaper garage . . . with a decent house attached for their families . . . perhaps near a good park in a good school district. Diversity drives innovation and if the valley delivers fewer community amenities, fewer opportunities for the young and the old, fewer chances to meet the full range of talents that make up a community then the next wave of innovation will crash on some other shore. A techno-monoculture is not a sustainable community.
As it gets harder to go anywhere to recreate and refresh, people will choose to live elsewhere. Regions also have a choice . . . innovate or die. It’s not only about housing and transit, it’s about adding that “plus” that creates an exciting, equitable, and engaging place to live. The architectural community is uniquely suited to bring people to the table and help them visualize a better valley. Let’s rebuild our advocacy program, work with other community groups and advocacy groups to help build a vision of a vibrant and creative valley. Let’s go from the NIMBY discussion to a YIMBY vision.
The life of the chapter is strong, the opportunities to participate are many and varied. June, now already in the rear view mirror, kicked off with the golf tournament. Well attended by contractors and well supported by vendors. Team-building and relationship-building clearly was occurring at every hole. Consider attending this event next year even if you’re better at shanking the ball then driving it down the fairway! The golf tournament was followed the next week by our chapter meeting at West Valley College which was our annual scholarship event.
The chapter continued its tradition of supporting young emerging designers and we also learned about WVC’s robust building plan to revitalize the campus and the design program. During the third week in June we highlighted an innovative mixed use project in Cupertino. Both Laurie Olin Hon. AIA and Rafael Vinoly FAIA were present to discuss the ideas behind “The Hills at Vallco” and over 250 community members and chapter members attended . . . perhaps people do care about the future the valley and our communities! Finally the last week in June included an event at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation where Paul Welch, Mark Christian and Kurt Cooknick, our representatives in Sacramento, updated us on potential legislation and regulations that impact the profession and our daily practice. How does membership in the AIA add value? Clearly to all those who attended, the work of Paul’s staff is one of the best answers to that question. By the end of June even our own indefatigable April Becerra needed a break but revising the chapter bylaws got in the way of that! I do hope that some of you enjoyed a vacation in July or are doing so now . . . but we hope to see you at the home tours on August 6! Yet another wonderful event to meet colleagues and see how good design can indeed contribute to a more livable valley!