New Warriors arena renderings still look like toilet, sorry

When Snøhetta, the super-hip Norwegian architecture firm, released its initial overhead renderings of a proposed Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco last month, everyone was quick to say, “Ha ha ha ha, it looks like a toilet lid!” Well, now we have additional renderings on hand from more human angles, and:

Yeah, that’s pretty much a toilet.

It looks somewhat better from street level:

One problem with these renderings (aside from that they’re black and white line drawings, so it’s tough to tell what they’d really look like) is that they lack any context: How tall would that building on the right tower over the surrounding area? What would that plaza full of tiny blob-people open onto? Again, given that this is Snøhetta’s wheelhouse, I’d think we’d be seeing more of that here, but even for design firms that pride themselves on fitting architecture seamlessly into surrounding space, the first rule is “the customer is always right.”

(And before anyone says anything: Yes, at least the Warriors owners say they’ll pursue the project with all private dollars, including paying for the land. Unless you count trying to skip out on their debt to Oakland for their old arena, of course.)

13 comments on “New Warriors arena renderings still look like toilet, sorry

  1. As far as the height is concerned, it looks to me as though it’s in context with the rest of the area. UCSF has a facility directly across the street that appears to be in the ballpark in terms of height, and it’s pretty much ugly, deserted stuff on the other streets.

    Go into Google Maps and use streetview, and while they don’t tell you the measurements of the stuff around there, keep in mind that they have this all designed to the height restrictions in effect in that area.

    We’re not going to be looking at this from the air. Yeah, it looks like an American Standard right now, but I doubt that look will stick. It’s the part where they’re running out on existing debt that bothers me. They’ve done a good job on the new site, and a lousy thing to the old hosts. I can separate these two things in my mind.

  2. Maybe it’s being designed with naming rights in mind. “Kohler” scribbled across the lid would get plenty of exposure on Google Maps.

    All kidding aside, I’m surprised more roofs aren’t being exploited this way.

  3. Getting back to Sacramento for a moment… This is obviously an anecdote, but went into Macy’s in the Downtown Plaza yesterday, and the place is a ghost-town. Who knew that you could get the mall down to about 5 businesses, isolate it from the rest of downtown, cut way back on parking, and that would be the effect? What a surprise!

    It turns out that the owners aren’t renewing leases to existing businesses. The microbrew place in the mall has been told they have 4 months. I’d bet the handful of businesses that remain there understand that they’re next. When asked if the rest of the mall would remain open, a spokesperson for SBH said, “No comment.”

    I think what they’re doing here is all aimed at Macy’s, which owns the facility there. They want to get it to the point where it’s a single Macy’s cut off from the rest of the world (so no one goes; mission nearly-accomplished already), with no shops around it, until Macy’s finally surrenders and sells that last piece of land. Heck, maybe they can get the building condemned.

    So far, they’ve lost way more jobs than they’ve added. That’s abundantly clear. The Bee’s coverage of this is zero, but luckily, there are other news sources in town.

  4. The Bee finally has an article.

    I am openly speculating here, but I really believe a goal here is to condemn Macy’s. I think they want them out. There’s a behind-the-scenes drama being played out that we’ll never get to see directly.

  5. Sacramento Business Journal also has an article:

    Comments from the spokesman from JMA sounds like they are kicking out all of the smaller tenants.

  6. Awwww. The Warriors don’t like the comparison to a toilet seat.

  7. This has hit the news in Australia: “The 18,000 seat arena set to be built in San Francisco would probably be better suited for intrastate rival Sacramento Kings, because it looks like a throne.”

  8. Tibco, which is the company that Vivek Ranadive helped found, just sold with a market cap of over $4B. Naturally, Ranadive won’t get all that — his just a major stock-holder, that’s all.

    But it still makes me wonder why billionaires need subsidies of this magnitude.

  9. By the way, I think every one of your readers owes it to themselves to catch the “This American Life” from the weekend. It was all about the Fed. They let the Vampire Squid get away will all kinds of stuff.

    The Vampire Squid is financing both the public and private share of the arena costs in Sacramento. If and when one of these parties gets into trouble, I doubt V-S will care.

  10. It turns out that Ranadive doesn’t have anywhere near the net-worth I’d been led to believe. His portion of the company’s sale is only about $300M.

    To you or me, $300M would change lives. But to a guy who’s the largest shareholder in a team that recently sold for nearly $600M, it seems like a disaster.