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Fort Mason 2012 Design Competition Pits Top Architects Against Each Other (PHOTOS)

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Fort Mason Center
Fort Mason Center

When faced with uncertainty during a major remodel, there's really only one way to approach the process: pit 20 of the world's top design firms against each other and make them compete for the project.

Such a plan might not work for your new kitchen, but it has certainly made things interesting around San Francisco's Fort Mason Center.

Fort Mason, San Francisco's Army base turned event center, has always been a hauntingly beautiful San Francisco landmark. But with the Fort Mason 2012 Design Competition, organizers are trying to make the space a little less haunting and a little more beautiful.


"We're trying to explore what we can do physically to attract people in, encourage them to linger," said Fort Mason Executive Director Rich Hillis to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hillis noted that besides the views, the center does not have much to attract visitors, unlike Crissy Field where open green spaces, jogging paths, picnic areas and cafes keep the space filled with locals and tourists.

What it does have are views of Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge, 13 acres of waterfront property, cool vintage design details and one million annual visitors--an innovative designer's dream.

Thus, Fort Mason invited 20 of the world's top architecture and design firms to compete for the redesign project. The project will not include the historical buildings themselves, but rather parts of the public realms, waterfront space, the parking area and Pier One, a two-story, 46,000-square-foot pier.

Fifteen of the firms have submitted proposals.

According to Curbed, participating designers include "Dutch urban planning superstars" West 8, Portland's Allied Works, as well as several talented local firms. Fort Mason will announce the top three finalists on July 13.

Finalists will then be granted $20,000 each to develop proposals for a public presentation to the competition jury and the Fort Mason Center board, staff and community.

Check out photos of the space up for consideration below:

Fort Mason 2012 Design Competition
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Filed by Robin Wilkey