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Groundbreaking - A Picture of Beauty

Posted on June 30, 2011 10:06 AM

 Audi Progress on Powell Street 

The transformation of Powell Street has officially commenced. For the past week, workers contracted by Atthowe have been cutting and jack-hammering into the pavement to lay the foundation for the space. The space, however, consists of eight separate sections between two city blocks, and each section has its own unique challenges to be navigated in installing these substructures. It’s meticulous work, because not only does it have to be precise, it has to be level. And Powell Street is anything but level. Once in place, installation of the platform and final elements can begin. Stay tuned for more.

Audi Progress on Powell Street

Some Assembly Required

Posted on June 22, 2011 4:55 PM

Audi Progress on Powell

We visited the workspace of Atthowe Fine Art Services to get a sneak peek of what the finished platforms will look like. Designed to be the width of the former parking lanes, the project calls for a series of decks that will extend out from the sidewalk. The design is a system of aluminum grates, with accenting wood to recall the refined interior of our cars. The use of aluminum across the entire space was inspired by the aluminum Audi ASF® frame technology.

While the aluminum grates are an off-the-shelf solution, the wood ones were custom-made right here in the shop. The overall aesthetic is intended to create a sense of movement, with the uniform lines flowing in the same direction as the cable cars and people. Furniture, railings and planters will be bolted into the grates, creating a vision of rising and twisting shapes, like these railings.
 

Audi Progress on Powell

Audi Progress on Powell

Prepping Powell Street

Posted on June 21, 2011 2:05 PM

Audi Progress on Powell

It’s morning on Powell Street, and work has officially commenced to prepare for installation. First up, city workers removed the parking meters on both sides of the street. The project is eliminating the parking lanes to give more space to pedestrians. And having a few less obstacles on the sidewalks isn’t bad, either.

Next, Scott Atthowe and his team from Atthowe Fine Art Services set about meticulously marking the street and mapping out the layout to the specifications of the design blueprints. Atthowe has the unenviable task of making it all happen, from assembly to construction and installation. When it comes to unconventional projects like this, these guys are the experts, with over 30 years of experience in art and major exhibition installations for galleries, museums and public spaces around the world.
 


Audi Progress on Powell

Audi Progress on Powell

Landscape Architect, Walter Hood preps for installation

Posted on June 17, 2011 11:28 AM

Audi Progress on Powell Street

At the NorCal facility in Oakland, Walter Hood pays a visit to examine the railings, which are the first of the custom-designed elements to be completed. And that means individual aluminum pieces were cut to specification, twisted, welded together, polished, sand blasted, power washed, and powder coated. And there’s probably a half-dozen steps in between that we’re skipping. It’s NorCal’s job tobring Walter’s vision to life, because when it comes to bending and twisting metal, they’re the experts.

And while railings may sound simple, these are anything but. Necessary for providing a barrier between the space and the street beyond it, Walter’s vision, as with everything else, transcends the expected by imagining an undulating ribbon of aluminum running nearly the length of the space. So, as you might imagine, seeing palette after palette stacked with sections of railing like this one is a very good sign. Next stop, Powell Street.
 

Audi Progress on Powell Street

Sculpting a boldly designed public space.

Posted on June 15, 2011 9:52 AM

Audi Progress on Powell Street

Here, precision cut and twisted pieces of aluminum are being welded together to create what will soon be a standing table. Five identical pieces, side by side, will be fixed in place with the flush end up (obviously), forming a smooth flat tabletop. The grooved ends will then be fixed and bolted into a deck made of aluminum and wood grating that sits on top of the street.

Like we said, this is no ordinary public space. It’s more like a work of art, with every last element and detail carefully considered to bring the designer and landscape architect, Walter Hood’s vision to life. And that vision is all about curving and twisting aluminum rising from the street in fluid, organic lines. Metal, as it turns out, doesn’t do that on it’s own. So that translates to hundreds of individual pieces of aluminum being welded together to make everything from these tables and benches to long, sweeping planters, endless railings and towers fitted for solar panels. It’s a job our welders have been at for weeks.

So, why aluminum you might ask? Well, aside from the sleek, modern aesthetic it happens to be the same, progressive material we’ve used to revolutionize the aluminum Audi Spaceframe, which is what we build our cars on. So let the fabricating continue.
 

Audi Progress on Powell Street

The Location: Powell Street (between Geary Street and Ellis Street)

Posted on June 13, 2011 11:20 AM

Audi Progress on Powell

In the heart of San Francisco’s famed Union Square, Powell Street is the city’s most popular and visited pedestrian destination. It’s also a major business and commuter hub, with the city’s busiest transit stop and the renowned cable car line. On a given Saturday or Sunday, the pedestrian volume on this stretch of Powell Street rivals some of the world’s most famous streets, including Times Square, NY; and Oxford Street, London.

However, though Powell Street is a popular destination, it lacks a vibrant street life. And seating is scarce. Combined with high pedestrian traffic, this has led to serious overcrowding and congestion.
 

The Project: Designing a public space the Audi way.

Posted on June 13, 2011 11:20 AM

Audi Progress on Powell

The Audi Design Project: Progress on Powell Street was launched with the purpose of improving the pedestrian experience on Powell Street in a way that transforms it into a vibrant destination and alleviates the congestion. So, working with the city of San Francisco, we’re doing something that might normally be considered unfathomable for an automaker — removing cars from the road. That’s right, we’re eliminating the parking lanes on both sides of the street and, in their place, creating a new public space that sits on top of the pavement.

But this is no ordinary public space. It’s a space inspired by the same philosophy of design and innovation that defines our approach to car making. And reflects our commitment to efficiency and sustainability. First we started with the materials, and the idea to build the space almost entirely of aluminum. Not only does it look pretty spiffy, it’s lighter and stronger than steel, and makes the bodies of cars like the Audi A7 more efficient. Then there are the custom designed benches, planters, tables and railings that evoke the fluid curves of our cars. And of course, it wouldn’t be Audi without a few well-placed LEDs to light up the night. But to take it one step further we’re installing custom solar towers to supply the electricity. And finally, to top it all off, since we’ve been turning our cars into hotspots, we decided to bring free WiFi to Powell Street too.

In the end, we hope to create a new vision for Powell Street. One that San Francisco will be proud to call its own.
 

About Audi Progress - Powell StreetAbout Audi Progress - Powell Street

Design. It's in our DNA. It's why we believe that a boldly designed car deserves a boldly designed world. A world that lives up to the same philosophy of uncompromising craftsmanship and innovation that defines our cars. So we launched the Audi Design Project: Progress on Powell Street. An urban design initiative inspired by the all-new Audi A7, with the mission to re-imagine the world beyond our cars. We took two of the most storied and overcrowded blocks in San Francisco, and set out to redefine the experience.