Daily digest: A Brutalist bridge will come down in San Francisco, AECOM snags a major NASA contract, and more

A Brutal Bridge

Daily digest: A Brutalist bridge will come down in San Francisco, AECOM snags a major NASA contract, and more

NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, one of the sites AECOM will work on for the next 5 years (NASA/Unsplash)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another fall news roundup.

Here’s what you need to know today:

AECOM snags a 5-year design and construction contract with NASA

A month-and-a-half after AECOM announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters to Texas, the global architecture and engineering giant has procured a 5-year, $300 million contract to provide services to NASA across the region. As part of the Southeast Regional Architect and Engineering (SERAE) program, AECOM will provide architecture, engineering, planning, and civil support to help restore and raise structures at NASA sites across the South. That includes facilities ranging from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico and everywhere in between.

San Francisco’s “bridge to nowhere” in Chinatown will likely be demolished

A little-loved Brutalist pedestrian bridge in San Francisco’s Chinatown will likely be torn down as the city moves to clean up Portsmouth Square. The 50-year-old (unofficially titled) Kearny Street Pedestrian Bridge connects to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco across Kearny Street but is seldom used. The bridge reportedly shades a quarter of the park below, and now the 240-foot-span will likely be removed piecemeal over a 6-month period to help bring light back to the communal green space below.

H/t to the San Francisco Chronicle

Two Bridges reveals a 71-story skyscraper for the Lower East Side

Even more supertall towers may be on the way for the Lower East Side, as developer Two Bridges Associates has filed permits for a 71-story mixed-use tower at 265 South Street. The tower, designed by Handel Architects, is planned to hold 1,312 residential units with a currently unspecified amount earmarked for affordable residences. No estimated date of completion has been made public yet.

H/t to New York YIMBY

New York’s City Planning Commission shoots down Brooklyn Botanic Garden-blocking tower

In other New York City development news, last week the City Planning Commission shot down a rezoning application for 960 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights. The potentially 34-story tower would have, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, cast the garden into shade and damaged the plants within, leading to a swell of grassroots opposition to the project. That includes current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who voiced his concern at the end of last year, much to activists’ relief. Now that the rezoning has been denied, Continuum Company plans on building the as-of-right version, which will be 6 stories and hold 518 market-rate condo units; the taller version of the project would have held 1,578 units with half set aside as affordable.


Boston launches bid to speed up mass timber development

Boston is the latest city attempt to jumpstart a wood revolution. Today the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) jointly announced that the city was launching the Mass Timber Accelerator to help popularize the practice in Bean Town. Citing the city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, the program will hand out grants to development teams to help encourage building with timber (and you can apply here until November 19, 2021).

“Once again, the City of Boston is proud to be a leader in the fight against climate change by implementing this initiative into our building practices,” said Acting Mayor Kim Janey in a press conference. “We hope projects will take advantage of this funding to bring us closer to Boston’s Carbon neutral 2050 goals.”