Why I Love Architecture and the City Festival (And You Will Too!)

August 14, 2014 4 min read

Last year I attended San Francisco's Architecture and the City Festival for the first time (I know, where had I been all along ?!?), and I loved it. For those of you who might not be familiar with it, Architecture and the City is a month long celebration of everything Architecture that takes place every September in San Francisco. Here are the reasons I love this Festival and why you will, too.


Photo by Ed Schipul, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

1. You can meet everyone who is anyone in Architecture in the Bay Area. Interested in meeting your favorite architect? Looking for some casual and fun networking opportunities? Look no more! The Festival's Opening Night gathers many professionals and fans of architecture and this year it is hosted by Blu Dot in the Mission. Grab a drink, look at wonderful design and then keep the party going on Valencia Street.

2. There's no better time to visit San Francisco. Well, OK, I admit that October is not a bad time of the year to come to the Bay Area either, but you won't get to go on a walking tour of North Beach with Anne Fougeron and Mark English. So, if you are planning to visit the City by the Bay, make this a business and pleasure trip and get the inside scoop from some of the best AEC professionals in the area.

3. This year Novedge is co sponsoring. And that means we are bringing the Festival online by hosting a panel discussion on our Hangout series: How to Succeed in Architecture. We will discuss Third Places – The Architecture of Sharing with Andrew Dunbar, David Darling, and David C. Brown on September 4th at 11 am PST. Join us for this live event from anywhere in the world to ask questions directly to our panelists. 

How to Succeed in Architecture - Novedge

4. Learn more about changing urban landscapes. San Francisco is arguably at the epicenter of the changing economy in the US and the city is undergoing massive and controversial changes. People are getting priced out of neighborhoods, new arrivals are reshaping the city and architects are at the center of it all. Would you like to see more or less development? How important is to keep historical neighborhoods intact? How do we deal with changing demographics? Two events should prove especially interesting: the behind the scene tour of Bayview Hill Gardens Affordable Family Housing, the first affordable housing for formerly homeless families in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, and Building a New Neighborhood: Designing within the Market-Octavia Area Plan, a panel about the design of a new emerging San Francisco neighborhood.  

5. Meet Roman Mars. Roman Mars is the legendary podcaster behind 99% Invisible, a short radio show about design and architecture. His accomplishments include running one of the most successful ever Kickstarter campaign in journalism in 2012 and being named one of 100 Most Creative People by Fast Company in 2013. Check out his event at the festival.

6. PechaKucha. Whether you have work to show, or you are looking for inspiration, PechaKucha is one of the most exciting ways to compare notes and look at a lot of great design. Show 20 of your best images on the festival's theme Home: My San Francisco in 20 seconds, while providing live commentary. And did I mention this event is a great way to meet new people?

7. Find your way Home. I simply love this year's theme for the festival, and I am looking forward to exploring the particular challenges of defining and redefining what constitutes a home in San Francisco. Join me on this exploration through photographs, videos, drawing  and stories of 12 unique homes that will be exhibited at AIA San Francisco and Center for Architecture + Design Gallery. Read more about the exhibit Home: My San Francisco, and the other festival's exhibits, here.

8. Coffee! How can you possibly pass up a tour of the new Sightglass while tasting some really good coffee? Join Seth Boor, AIA, of Boor Bridges Architecture, and the business owners of Sightglass, as they introduce their new cafe' and roaster in the Mission. Not sure about it? Read our interview with Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges here


photo by Matthew Millman

9. Introduce your child to architecture.Architecture and the City Festival has a number of events for families to enjoy together. If you have to choose just one, I recommend the Young Architects Workshop at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum, where you and your family will be able to design and build your own unique architectural models inspired by midcentury modern architecture. 

10. Go to the movies for free. There might not be a ton of movies featuring architects, but there sure are some interesting films about architecture. Catherine Nueva España put together a great selection of work to make you think, cry and laugh. I recommend The Queen of Versailles because it falls into that most amazing genre called stranger than fiction

Does your city celebrate Architecture? Are you going to participate in Architecture and the City? Let us know in the comments!

And don't forget to sign up for How to Succeed in Architecture: Third Places – The Architecture of Sharing

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The Edge: Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges
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