Archive for the 'History' Category

Bus Stop & Toilet Zealots

August 25th, 2015

  There’s a difficulty in designing one thing for multiple locations, such as a bus shelter or a public toilet. You can’t design for context since the surrounding of each installation is unique. Whatever the design, it can only display the unity of its own system. Too often, this frees a designer to promulgate his particular style at the expense of […]


March 22nd, 2013

The very normal-sized side door to this apartment house on Church is given proper entry status by an enormously over-proportioned broken pediment.  Most delightful is how the thing weighs so heavily on the doorway it actually crops off the top of the door within. The architect might have squeezed a normal pediment at the conventional […]

et tu Boulee?

March 19th, 2012

Boulee’s monument to Newton, seems also to have been influenced by ancient mausolea, as I surmised while exploring the roots of Mario Botta’s SFMoMA. This time a spherical top over a windowless cylindrical base, and again, rings of Cypress trees. There’s something in these arrangements that draws together the earth and the heavens, the worldly […]

Favorite Books on Architecture

September 15th, 2010

Every now and then I come across a book so enlightening, so thought provoking, so intelligently written, it makes me want to toss out a score of others on my shelves lest I be tempted to waste time on them.

Art, Death, and the Museum

June 20th, 2009

Early features of Mario Botta’s San Francisco Museum of Modern Art bear resemblance to those of the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus in Rome. Parallels between museums and mausolea are rife in the history of the de Young as well. What is it about art and death that moves us to inter them so?