Civic Design Commissioners
Cass Calder Smith (Chair)
Gwyneth Borden (Ex-Officio)
About Civic Design ReviewThe Civic Design Review Committee is made up of architects, designers, and an art historian who conduct a three-phase review of new and renovated civic construction projects to ensure design quality of City structures. Projects include buildings, viaducts, elevated ways, gates, fences, street furniture, lamps or other structures on land belonging to the City and County. The Committee also reviews arches, bridges, approaches and other structures extending over or onto any street, highway, park or other public place belonging to the City.
The Arts Commission's responsibility for the approval of the design of structures on City property is identified in Charter Section 5.103. The Charter gives power to the Commission for the review and approval of "the design of all public structures, any private structure which extends over or upon any public property and any yards, courts, setbacks or usable open spaces which are an integral part of any such structures." (San Francisco Charter Section 5.103.)
This Charter-mandated responsibility is assigned to the Civic Design Review Committee, which is composed of two architects, one landscape architect and one artist/designer. The three-phase review process ensures that each project's design is appropriate to its context in the urban environment, and that structures of the highest design quality reflect their civic stature. To this end the committee will evaluate each project's design, scale and massing for accessibility, safety and aesthetic merit. The Committee's oversight ensures that high levels of design quality are achieved, prior to the expenditure of large amounts of time and capital in the preparation of detailed construction documents.