Over 25,000 architects are coming to San Francisco this week for their annual AIA convention. That’s a lot of architects, so we decided to welcome them with an event at Studio Forbes this Thursday evening from 5-8. We’ll be serving local wines from Row Eleven and auctioning off this handsome Alta single speed bike designed by a Norwegian design group. Proceeds will benefit the San Francisco Bike Coalition. We’ll also have our Piet Hein Eek work on display along with a selection of classic modern track bikes from around the world. Architects are trained to appreciate elegance and simplicity; materials and utility, so it’s no surprise that there are quite a few bike nuts in their ranks. Bikes are notorious conversation starters among designers and architects, and it seems more than appropriate to celebrate bikes during their gathering.
In addition to the natural fit between architects and bikes, the AIA convention this year is broadcasting a special “green” emphasis and encouraging members to recycle brochures, turn off lights, buy local products and to walk and take public transportation. This is all good albeit predictable “green” support. How much more lively and fun it would have been if the AIA had encouraged its members to bring their bikes with them to San Francisco and to pedal to and from hotel to Moscone to the surrounding events? For some reason the bike still does not get enough respect and attention as smart green urban transportation solution despite its 100 year history.
But even if the AIA did encourage its members to bring their bikes to San Francisco, cyclists would be confronted by more obstacles than just traffic and helmet hair. They would find that the hotels would not have bike storage; Moscone would not have bike racks. San Francisco promotes itself as a green city, yet our city has not developed an infrastructure to support cycling. Local efforts to develop public bike share programs, so common in Europe, are not taken seriously here. We are pretty regressive actually, and many cities around the country including car-centric places like LA seem to be more energetic and entrepreneurial in the new bikes solutions. You cannot even take your bike on BART during rush hour! We are making some progress and the San Francisco Bike Coalition has been spearheading the movement (which is why the proceeds of our Alta bike auction will go to their support).
Our event does not have a political or social agenda other than to have people take a look at bikes as design and architecture on wheels - and the bikes we have selected are pretty and inspirational from that point of view. There will be some vintage bikes from around the world and from companies like Colnago and Rickert. We’ll have some local bike celebrities such as FAIA David Baker. David has been living car free in San Francisco for 10 years and his bike collection is world class and worth a click to his website. David will ride his 1972 Dutch bike to the event and be available to talk about how architects can get along well without their cars.
There are numerous other events going on during this AIA week. Our neighbor architect Mark Horton is hosting an exhibition concurrently with ours: 10x10 Cities: Green Facts, Challenges, and Futures facing 10 major North American cities. Sponsoring this event is the Architect's Newspaper, which is a terrific online and print resource for the architect community. On this same evening nearby Remodelista is having a smart and feisty open house where you can dine at a taco truck after grazing at our South Park events.
We’ll also have Piet furniture on display. There are lots of parallels between bikes and furniture design and architecture and we have writtten about this before in Studio Forbes archives on Bikes. Ultimately, it's all about form, function and beauty. Let’s add fun to the list. Please stop by
If you have a particular interest in bikes and design, please sign up for our new endeavor at Public. We will continue to write about bikes, and we are looking to hire some people.
Pass It On
Know anyone in particular who would appreciate the content of this newsletter? If so, please forward this to them. Our readership has grown almost entirely by referrals, and we thank you for this.