Online studio of Francisco Mattos
Welcome to the online studio of Francisco Mattos, built w/ printed samples, design work, and personal projects. For a more formal setting, please see my online portfolio.

Cardigans & Pullover 

⊕  August 2016  ⊕


STOCKTON STREET, looking down from atop the Stockton Tunnel, 2015. THE CRUCIBLE OF SAINT FRANCIS During the summer of 2015, Scott Weiner dusted off a grand plan and restated, in ecological terms, the city’s ongoing civic need for more subways. From a transit-first policy push by City Hall, to a challenge to meet peak oil on its own terms, the plan’s resolute reasoning made this WWII-era idea golden again.

San Francisco Supervisor Weiner had but reintroduced the Subway Master Plan back to its citizens. In situ since the 1950s, this civic project envisioned the laying down of two rows of tracks, in a cruciform pattern, over a span of four phases. The original plan was for an all-underground rail system to traverse the city.

The first phase has, in fact, already happened. Muni’s T Line (the Third Street Light-rail) now runs on (surface) tracks, starting from Mission Bay on the east side and running down Third Street to the county line, at Geneva Avenue. The T now links the neighborhoods of Bayview, Dogpatch, Hunters Point, Little Hollywood, Mission Bay, Pier 70, Visitation Valley and Portola neighborhoods by light-rail.

This article is about the second phase, the Central Subway dig, slated to be completed in 2017. (It will add SoMA, Union Square and Chinatown to first north-to-south axis of the plan.) Phase III will consist of a second north-to-south axis, and is planned for Van Ness Avenue (aka Highway 101 aka Highway 1). Phase IV will run the length of Geary Boulevard, from Market to Ocean Beach along an east-to-west axis.

When fully online and operational, the Subway Master Plan will give San Francisco comprehensive mass transit, a dream feat of civic pride and a frameable deed to Good Decisions.

Phase II: Central Subway

Removing the 30-Stockton, the densest inner-city bus line in the nation, off the streets and moving it underground.

Fourth and King Central Subway track work

FOURTH AND KING — Intersection traffic down to one or even no lanes for roadwork linking Central Subway tracks so as to be in alignment w/ the Third Street tracks, 2015. These tracks are attached to concrete slabs located below the pavement, and concrete pavement is then placed so that only the tops of the rails are visible.
San Francisco’s Central Subway, when ready, will replace the 30-Stockton bus, moving underground where it will morph into the Third Street Light-rail, and meet existing tracks at Fourth and King streets. In all, a tunnel some 8300 feet will have been built starting under South of Market and ending in Chinatown.

The subway crosses under Market at Fourth, where the BART and Muni tunnels already exist. The tunnel will have to cross Market Street by going under BART’s tunnels, which are under Muni’s tunnels, down to a depth of 120 feet.


Brannan Street Station

Central Subway Brannan Street Station

The only above-ground station will be here at Fourth.


Yerba Buena Station

Central Subway Dig Union Square

Fourth Street from Folsom to Howard.
Digging on the station at Yerba Buena began in 2013. Where once a gas station and auto mechanic shop had been, on the northwest corner of Fourth and Folsom, was now demolished to make way for Muni.
Central Subway 4th Street Central Subway 4th Street Central Subway 4th Street
The 3- and 4-lane blocks of FOURTH STREET were sacrificed for the tunnel dig. Fourth was the route of the 30 Stockton bus, which was rerouted to Fifth Street.

Almost immediately, midden (refuse heap) was detected in the dig, archaeologists arrived, samples were collected.
Central Subway 4th Street
This traffic island will become a transit island at 4th and Brannan.

The build created a traffic chock point, and roadside electronic signs in the vicinity were set up notifying drivers of upcoming bottlenecks and detour routes and delay times. It was not enough to stem traffic initially – Fourth had always been a “straight shot” when leaving Union Square, say, or Chinatown, to get onto Highway 101 going south.

In the meantime, the footprint of the gas station complex became an excavated rectangle on its downward direction to meet the tunnel. Headwalls lining the dig were built on-site, and cranes were employed to hoist and lower each into place. Four lane roads overnight became two, one, or none.

A major consideration in this build was what to do w/ the City’s sewer mains, which will traverse the subway. The decision was then arrived at to build a culvert which can continue the once-impeded paths of the mains, passing unobtrusively on their way to treatment plants straddling Potrero Hill and Mission Bay down at Mission Creek.


Market Street Annex

Central Subway Brannan Street Station

Apple‘s original global flagship store, will become a portal.


Union Square Station

Central Subway Dig Union Square

Geary Boulevard from Powell to Stockton.
For this build, the Union Square Garage underwent a demolition and then was rebuilt, downwards, to meet the tunnel.
Apple Store Union Square
Since the annex dig started, this mystery metal pole has been visible night and day, its true purpose as yet unknown.

To prepare, a large-scale project was begun two years earlier to relocate all underground utility lines running parallel w/ Stockton Street. Again, lane closures were the norm. Cars eventually got the hint and vacated the ribbon of road which was what became of the first four blocks of Geary, and left its only lane to Muni’s 38-Geary accordion buses.
Central Subway Market Street Annex
Stockton at Geary had many upheavels: dealing w/ existing utility lines, reducing Geary to one lane, closing down three blocks of Stockton.

Not only Geary, but the first three blocks of Stockton were blocked off completely to cars and the road closed down (east west corridors for Geary and O'Farrell remained drivable). During the first Christmas that this happened, astroturf came to line Stockton, lights strung up and seating strewn about. Among the shoppers came balloon blowers, firework demonstrators, and an on-site photobooth operator. More importantly, Stockton at the corner w/ Ellis will get a transit point annex (w/ its steel-deck roof) to the Central Subway.

For this Market Street annex to happen, Apple has given up its first San Francisco store (and its second in the world) to relocate two blocks further up Stockton to a corner facing Union Square. Provisions have been made to do so and construction on the new store is slated to be completed in 2016. The new site contains a Ruth Asawa fountain and will end up being a part of the the Apple store’s footprint.


Chinatown Station

Central Subway Chinatown Station 
Stockton Street from Clay to Washington.

From Union Square, the tunnel will continue up Stockton to Chinatown, and become the current terminus of the subway. This phase of the build will end up displacing a chunk of the granite that is Nob Hill, which sits atop the Stockton Tunnel.

Cable car tracks on Columbus Avenue San Francisco
VICTORIAN VEXATION — Tossing a monkey wrench into plans to route the T Line on down to Fisherman’s Wharf, are national historic tracks running down some three blocks along Columbus Avenue.

It would seemingly make sense to extend the Central Subway past its terminus of Chinatown and continue on to Fisherman’s Wharf as a street level light-rail, where the user-friendly Embarcadero tracks are but a stone’s throw away.
Central Subway Chinatown Station Central Subway Chinatown Station Central Subway Chinatown Station
STOCKTON STREET — A set of early 20th century buildings at Washington were demolished to make way for the new Chinatown station. Dusk. Auxiliary portal further up on other side.

A route using Columbus to achieve this would be the least disruptive — to homeowners and to traffic — if not for cable cars: a national monument is standing smack in the path of this neat solution. Victorian-era tracks already exist along a stretch of Columbus, using a system of cables and grips that have been functioning superbly and in fact approaching its centennial of continuous operation since it was built, the first funicular system in the world. A decision was then made whereby, seeing as how the bore had to find an egress, it came to pass that the Palace Theatre was sacrificed and in its ruins the exit portal came through at Columbus and Powell where the bore resurfaced after two years underground, and taken off-site.

Follow the on-going construction alongside its crew on their Central Subway blog.


[1] THE TUNNEL — The dig commenced in 2013 when a stretch of Fourth where it crosses Bryant was closed off. A launch box was then constructed on-site, a bore put into place, and a portal opened up. The two-bore system consisted of double rotating cutterheads, each within its own cylindrical steel shell, which are pushed forward along the axis of the tunnel all the while excavating the ground through the cutterheads. It is propelled using hydraulic jacks thrusting against the tunnel path. A modern method of tunneling, called Sequential Excavation (the cut-and-cover method), was used in this build. During trench excavation, and after the bore has passed by, a box frame structure is immediately put into place, and fortification of the backfill then begun. This is slow progress. Exposed earth is shored up and support introduced to maintain structural integrity. Steel shields are erected to support the excavated ground until the proper tunnel lining can be built. Central Subway bores Central Subway bores TWIN BORES – "Big Alma" and "Mom Chung", nicknames given by the workmen. Each is 22 feet in diameter. LAUNCH BOX set up to open a portal, Fourth at Bryant, Summer 2013. This cut-and-cover method of tunneling employs a “top-down” or “bottoms-up” approach.

[2] LANDMARK + WAYFINDING ARTWORKS & ARTISTS —  ERWIN RADL – “Lucy in the Sky” | JIM CAMPBELL + WERNER KOLTZ – “Reflected Loop” | YUMEI HOU – “Yang Ge Dance of Northeast China” | TOMIE ARAI – “architectural glass elements” | CATHERINE WAGNER – photographs from the late 170s by artist documenting the building of Moscone Center are rendered as “sculptural reliefs.” Large-scale drawings will be sandblased and laser etched onto either stone or metal walls spanning the concourse level. | A 110-foot tapering tree branch called “Node” by ROXY PAINE has been commissioned for outside the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station.

[3] 30-STOCKTON BUS — In November 2014, MUNI introduced changes to the 30-Stockton bus route, as it neared retirement. Manned by staff standing in front of blowups of architectural renderings, and armed w/ printed literature, the beginning of the end of the running of the surface route began. Fittingly, no formal presentation took place that evening. Visitors learned about upcoming changes to the route in a 90-minute session filled w/ questions and answers. The pool of interested citizens was enlarged by inclusive text in Cambodian, Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. SFMTA Third Street Light-rail Phase 1 PHASE I — Opening day, Third Street Light-rail, 2006. Looking down Third below King Street at the revamped Third Street Bridge. The first day of operation offered free rides.
SFMTA Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Phase 3 PHASE III — Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit. For those not using public transit, the experience is different. After coasting into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway 101 uses Van Ness Avenue to cut across town to resume its highway form. Highway 1 also piggybacks onto Golden Gate Bridge but jumps off at the Presidio, on the other side of the span. You can stay on Highway 101’s Van Ness route, not stop in San Francisco, and still do a sightsee. First to greet you will be the Palace of Fine Arts on the left, a corridor of roadside gee-gaws takes you to Van Ness where you make a right. The gothic St Brigid Church is on the right, and the Old First Presbyterian Church on the left. You'll see Tommy’s Joynt w/ its world-famous buffalo burgers. There'll be grand automobile showrooms, one of which is used only to display vintage automobiles. You’ll cruise by City Hall w/ the adjacent War Memorial Opera House and the San Franicsco Symphony Hall.
SFMTA Geary Gus Rapid Transit Phase 4 PHASE IV — Geary Bus Rapid Transit. A rendering of the route through Japantown.

And because not yet underground, the 30-Stockton was initially to have received a red painted lane which was to begin at the Stockton Tunnel when it hits Sutter, then it goes up Sutter for two blocks to make a left on Mason, and from there down to Fifth. At Fifth it was to have become a dedicated (red) lane. The same number of stops were kept in this new route (plus one extra stop when leaving Chinatown). As it turned out, the lane was never painted due to the realization that it was a zany idea when applied to the most difficult route for inner-city bus drivers west of the Mississippi.

[4] PHASE I: THE T–THIRD STREET LIGHT-RAIL — Seeing the need to reestablish rail service in a soon-to-be congested corridor, construction of a 5.1 mile track system along the Third Street corridor was built and the first segment of the Third Street Light-rail opened to for business in April 2007. For the first time in 50 years, tracks ran up the east coast through, or skirting by, the neighborhoods of Little Hollywood, Visitacion Valley, Hunters Point, Bayview, Dogpatch, Pier 70, Mission Rock, Mission Bay, UCSF Hospital, and SoMa.

[5] PHASE III: VAN NESS AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSIT — Transit-only lanes (physically separated from mixed traffic lanes) will run both ways along the center of the road, and both Muni and Golden Gate Transit get to use them. Street lighting will get brighter and more efficient, as safety for people walking gets a wake-up call. So too for cars as Van Ness will be repaved. To achieve this, the overhead contact system that powers buses will be replaced also. Not least is an overhaul of the emergency firefighting water system, the one hydrants rely on. Not forgetting is the sewer system. In all, it will replace an 1800s-era water main system that’s been in continuous operation since it was built (like the cable cars) into a better managed eco-system. Bus stops will be at Market, McAllister, Eddy, Geary-O‘Farrell, Sutter, Sacramento, Jackson, Vallejo, Union.

[6] PHASE IV: GEARY BUS RAPID TRANSIT — Again, not yet a subway, this is a fast-track measure to paint a red lane in both directions, and this one comes w/ a promise to shave 15 minutes off a one-way commute. Among the plans for transit improvement is for some form of lane reduction at the crosstown station at Geary and Fillmore, and talks of some form of corridor wide lane resurfacing project being implemented. Opposition to building the Geary BRT came soon enough. A flyer on the 3200 block of Geary read: “SAVE GEARY BOULEVARD. No Muni BRT on Geary Boulevard. Protect Geary Blvd Small Businesses. Save 195 Historic Geary Boulevard Trees. NO RED TRANSIT ONLY LANES ON GEARY. Save 25 Geary Bus Stops. Save 19 Geary Left Turn Lanes. Save $350 Million Taxpayer Dollars.”

[7] A MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION NETWORK will have been created by Central Subway. It is coalescing where Mission Bay and the UCSF’s biotech hospital are. The subway benefits Muni’s overall system at the present hub of Fourth and King, where the Caltrain terminal is found. Here, the Third Street Light-rail will have become a surface route. Among Muni’s benefits will be a looped track built at 18th Street, for a much-sought-after turnout for the T Line, allowing it to go in the opposite direction. Furthermore, the infrastructure rearrangement brought on by Central Subway is looking at leveling the playing field. The current King Street off- and on-ramps to Interstate 280 are being studied so as to be able to move back four blocks, over to 16th Street. By so doing, missing segments of two streets can be reclaimed such that connections can come about for the benefit of pedestrians and bicyclists.

[8] PEAK OIL is the point in time when the maximum rate of crude oil extraction is reached, after which the rate of extraction is expected to begin to decline … forever. More.

[9] BASED ON reports from, among others, Simone Aponte, Joe Eskenazi, John Funghi, Peter Gabancho, David Greenaway, Vivian Ho, Robert Masys, Tim Redmond, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, Jeffrey Tumlin, Scott Weiner, Eric Young.

Historic Hub San Francisco HISTORIC HUB — The area around Market between Van Ness Boulevard and Octavia Street was called "The Hub" going on many years, and local shops had names like the Hub Pharmacy, housed in that pie-shaped corner on Market at Haight. The Hub neighborhood district was likely given the name because it was a key transportation artery through the heart of the City. The Municipal Railway had a strong presence, with major rail lines that ran from Market out Haight, Valencia and Gough streets. By the 1950s Muni’s practise of using this spot as a transportation hub began its decline as car-friendlier street reconfigurations came into play and streetcar lines began to be replaced with the City’s first electric buses. Text and illustration by John Horn. More

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Music for Hospitals

Finally, a bedside companion to Brian Eno‘s arias to airports.

HOVE, U.K. — Soon after Music for Airports was released in 1978, Brian Eno speculated in an interview about Music for Hospitals, The Quiet Room, Montefiore Hospital The Quiet Room, Montefiore Hospital based on his notion that both places were high stress environments where notions of coming and going are ever tinged w/ metaphysical conditions. And now, the Montefiore Hospital has commissioned two similar pieces in a quest to aid in the treatment of patients, and as it turns out, their visitors too.
       The first of these sound-&-vision commissions was unveiled in opening ceremonies in March 2013, and known as “The Quiet Room for Montefiore.” It is a space inside the hospital where ambient music plays over three panels of subtly changing colors. The hospital’s head receptionist, Ann-Marie James, mentioned that the artwork and the music really help take people’s minds off, which may or may not be a blessing if you really get to think about it. 77 Million Paintings, Montefiore Hospital 77 Million Paintings Matron at Montefiore Hospital Lynette Awdry adds, “The relatives can come and have time out for themselves for exactly the same reasons as the patients need it.”
       The second piece is near the entrance and consists of eight plasma screens, “77 Million Paintings for Montefiore,” a continuous nonrepeating display of morphing colors and shapes. Mistaken Memories from Mediaeval Manhattan The juxtapositioning of the 8 screens harken back to Eno’s 1980s video installation, where recordings of clouds outside his NYC window are played back on a TV monitor turned on its side, in portrait view. Still from Mistaken Memories from Mediaeval Manhattan. As Mr Eno explains, “A piece of software selects a random image and combines it with another random image and combines them to create ever-new combinations.”
       Head receptionist James: “In the evening [77 Million Paintings] comes into its own when the lights go down.” Comments in the visitors' book include: “Absolutely stunningly beautiful, calm, distracting in a very positive way. Wonderful concept. Congratulations on a beautiful waiting area.” “You can feel your blood pressure calming by the minute. It made me think of cells and change and the beauty of life.”



“That Human Wilderness”

The protagonist of H.G. Well’s novel, Tongo-Bungay, has come up from the provinces to work in London, and here gives an account of his train journey into the city:

H.G. Wells, Tongo-Bungay

“The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.”
- Milton

LONDON 1908 —

“ … I got London at last with an exceptional freshness of effect, as the sudden revelation of a whole unsuspected other side of life. I came to [that human wilderness] on a dull and smoky day by the South Eastern Railway, and our train was half an hour late, stopping and going on and stopping again. I marked beyond Chilselhurst the growing multitude of villas, and so came stage by stage through multiplying houses and diminishing interspaces of market garden and dingy grass to regions of interlacing railway lines, big factories, gasometers and wide reeking swamps of dingy little houses, more of them and more and more. The number of these and their dinginess and poverty increased, and here rose a great public house and here a Board School and here a gaunt factory; and away to the east there loomed for a time a queer, incongruous forest of masts and spars. The congestion of houses intensified and piled up presently into tenements; I marvelled more and more at this boundless world of dingy people; whiffs of industrial smells, of leather, of brewing, drifted into the carriage; the sky darkened, I rumbled thunderously over bridges, van-crowded streets, peered down on and crossed the Thames with an abrupt eclat of sound. I got an effect of tall warehouses, of grey water, barge crowded, of broad banks of indescribable mud, and then I was in Cannon Street Station – a monstrous dirty cavern with trains packed across its vast floor and more porters standing along the platform than I have ever seen in my life before. I alighted with my portmanteau and struggled along, realising for the first time just how small and weak I could still upon occasion feel.”

A Solitary World, James W. Griffiths 02|19|14 – A Solitary World | H G WELLS FOOTNOTES [1] 1908 map of London Underground.

[2] excerpt, Tongo-Bungay by H.G. Wells, 1908.

[3] John Updike excerpt, The New Yorker 10|5|2015.

[4-VIDEO] A Solitary World – Dir: James W. Griffiths – Published on Feb 19, 2014 – Narration adapted from the works of H.G. Wells. Excerpted from the following: The Time Machine (1895) – The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) – The First Men in the Moon (1901) – In The Days of the Comet (1906) – The World Set Free (1914).  Director, Producer, VFX Artist & Colourist: James W. Griffiths – Director of Photography: Christopher Moon – Editor: Marianne Kuopanportti – Sound Design & Mix: Mauricio D'Orey – Composer: Lennert Busch – Narrator: Terry Burns – PBS Digital Studios Original Shorts Series Producer: Matt Vree.


… After Providence, John UpdikeConnecticut – the green defiant landscape, unrelieved except by ordered cities, smart and smug, in spirit villages, too full of life to be so called, too small to seem sincere. And then like Death it comes upon us: the plain of steaming trash, the tinge of brown that colors now the trees and grass as though exposed to rays sent from the core of heat – these are the signs we see in retrospect. But we look up amazed and wonder that the green is gone out of our window, that horizon on all sides is segmented into so many tiny lines that we mistake it for the profile of a wooded hill against the sky, or that as far as mind can go are buildings, paving, streets. The tall ones rise into the mist like gods serene and watchful, yet we fear, for we have witnessed from this train the struggle to complexity: the leaf has turned to stone.

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-Rest of the Story-

online portfolio, Francisco

Here is an informal portfolio of design projects. My everyday tools include InDesign w/ HTML5, Acrobat Pro w/ Excel, exacto knives w/ glue. See the rest of my portfolio.


Enterprising Women! For Helen Branham / Urban Solutions.

typography, San Francisco


San Francisco Rod & Racquet Club

Poster for an annual fly-fishing fraternity getaway.

map of Forest Hill steps

Staircases to be found in Forest Hill, showing Hawk Hill Open Space and Golden Gate Heights Park. View a larger image here.


Sabrina Alonso

Layouts for Sabrina Alonso’s feature documentary “Grizzly Road: the Last Days of the California Grizzly”, available at the San Francisco Public Library. The cover artwork features a black-&-white photo of Monarch, a grizzly captured by William Randolph Hearst, and in captivity for 22 years.



Adobe Books San Francisco Staffers Geoffrey Cullen and Christopher Rolls in front of the relocated Adobe Books & Arts Cooperative on 24th Street. For Urban Solutions.

Search and Destroy


Art dealer’s website features this Tibetan deity in gilt bronze (18th c.). His name is Vajrabhairava.


The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow


Montesacro San Francisco


Cable car San Francisco

CITY OF CABLES — How San Francisco’s cable car system came to be built requires more than one stop from where the story begins and where it ends. This history winds upwards and downwards, folks jump on and off, as it wends past cityscapes of wealth and waste. Before the advent of this wondrous contraption that could conquer the hills of this city, the task for getting to the top of Nob Hill was relegated to the business of paying for a ride in a horse-drawn cab. On October 11, 1869, this necessary yet wanton cruelty changed for the good. The San Francisco Chronicle had on its front-page an article on the life and death of a city horse. |  More

Bike to Work Day

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