Forge Development Partners Selects Two Ruth Asawa SOTA Students’ Façade Designs for its TL 361 and TL 145 Essential Housing Projects
Forge continues its commitment to community investment by sponsoring a project-based learning experience for students in the school’s Architecture and Design Program
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – On Saturday, January 30, 2021, Forge Development Partners (Forge) and the
Architectural Foundation of San Francisco (AFSF) announced 10 th grader Eva Nusbaum-Faust and 11 th grader Sofia Regenbogen from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) as the winners of a community-based design competition for the permanent installation of the perforated, metal panel façades for Forge’s Essential Housing Development projects, known as TL 361 and TL 145 and located at 361 Turk Street and 145 Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin neighborhood. As part of Forge’s ongoing mission to bring in the best minds to help innovate the future of Essential Housing, the developer sponsored the design competition where 11 students were given two weeks to study the interconnectivity of the Tenderloin community and to express that in a design for the skin of the two buildings. These students will work with Forge’s partner, world-renowned architecture firm Gensler, to transform the winning concepts into the permanent façades for the new development. Forge’s developments provide high-quality, sustainable scaled-living homes at price point’s affordable to middle income essential workers of San Francisco.
“In designing the façades for this development, we knew it was important to honor the surrounding
community and what better way to do this than through this design challenge with some of the top art
and design students in San Francisco?” noted Forge Founder and AFSF Board Director Richard Hannum.
“We were just completely blown away by the response – the quality of the work is extraordinary! The selected designs speak to the community – they speak of hope, they speak of transition and they recognize the strength of community. It’s a very complete expression of what we’re all trying to accomplish with delivering multi-level housing to the community.”
District 11 California Senator Scott Weiner noted during the awards ceremony: “Having these art installations on the new development makes all the sense the world. It makes neighborhoods feel better, look better and gives people pride in how their neighborhood looks and so this is really terrific.”
Eleven students used their two-week 2020 holiday break to research and create truly exceptional design concepts that embodied the interconnectivity of the Tenderloin community.
“This was amazing opportunity and valuable learning experience for my architecture and design students,” said Tara Siegel, Ruth Asawa SOTA Architecture and Design Program Director. “A lot of our students are having a hard time staying motivated to work during distance learning. And I was surprised and pleased to see how many students participated and have stayed motivated and engaged in this process.”
A panel of design and architecture experts and community members, including Glenn Katz, Stanford University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Lecture; Del Seymour, Code Tenderloin Founder; Michael Lin, Gensler Design Director; Naomi Motomura, Gensler Senior Associate; and Richard Hannum, Forge Founder and AFSF Board of Director, determined the winning designs from the 11 submitted.
Eva Nusbaum-Faust’s design was inspired by nature and the rich community of the Tenderloin she
experienced when she visited the development site. Nusbaum-Faust noted she wanted to show the
threads of the community as hands and ribbons connected together.
“The idea of the hands reaching down and reaching up is really expressive of the nature of the
community,” noted Code Tenderloin Founder Del Seymour. “This sense of helping, sharing, taking care
of each other – the reaching down and reaching up – it is really quite a strong representation of what I
see in the community every day.”
Sofia Regenbogen’s design was inspired by the jazz history of the Tenderloin after she found out an
empty lot near the development used to be a jazz club called the Black Hawk where Miles Davis
performed and recorded his song “So What.” Regenbogen came up with contrasting circular and linear
patterns based on the sheet music to that song to represent that rich history.
“The judges were really blown away by the sophistication and the meaningfulness of what Sofia is
proposing to create here,” said Glenn Katz with Stanford University. “It’ll be a hidden code that’s such a
reward for the community and references an integral part of the Tenderloin’s history.”
All 11 students who participated in the competition will have the opportunity to work with Gensler
throughout the process of taking these winning designs from their current conceptual phase to
execution with the goal of having the designs ready for fabrication in August and installed on the
building in fall 2021. The winners also received a $3,000 scholarship to participate in AFSF’s Summer
Design Institute, an intensive three-week program that offers the opportunity to develop their design
skills and build a digital portfolio of work they can use for college and career applications.
“We are proud to partner with Forge Development Partners and Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the
Arts to provide this project-based learning opportunity for these students,” said Architecture
Foundation of San Francisco Executive Director Alan R. Sandler. “The Foundation seeks to enhance the
awareness and appreciation of architecture and design process in the local community and what better
way to do this than by involving the youth of our city to make a lasting contribution to their community