Important as color is, it sometimes blinds us to form. “I see in color, so I shoot in color,” Jay Maisel once told my uncle. But if what you want to convey is shape and volume, doing away with any distracting hues can be the best tool. Photo here is by Clyde Butcher.
It is as perilous to design a prominent building in the giddiness of a tech-fueled economy as it is to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You may find yourself with buyers remorse the morning after. This could easily be the case with the New Mission Theater condos – a carnival’s fun house aesthetic on both […]
Most architects just throw out something in hacienda style when they want to reflect the local culture here in the Mission…
I like deconstructivist architecture. I like it the same way, I think, that I’d like a night out on the town with Lady Gaga. But at the end of the evening, I’d rather return to a home like an Audrey Hepburn in that simple black dress. Home is, more than anything else, our place of […]
All the gold on this façade was done with one and a half packages of leaf, or about $22. Amazingly thin stuff at around 7-millionths of an inch—the same as gold plate—it’s thin enough sunlight can pass through.
“All discord [is] harmony not understood,” noted Alexander Pope. Discovering harmony in architecture, in what at first looks like discord, lends a wonderful richness and intrigue. Take this house on Vallejo Street. Study the ostensible jumble of unaligned windows and they’ll slowly reveal the internal layout of rooms and stair behind the façade. A similar work without the underlying […]
Bertrand Russell on conformity, from “Furniture and the Ego”: “Tolstoy describes somewhere a newly married couple who are giving their first evening party; when it is over, they congratulate each other on the fact that it has been exactly like anyone else’s evening party. Those to whom this is the highest ambition evidently fear contempt […]
The solar energy that today lands wasted on thousands of acres of deteriorating San Francisco roof membranes will in the future be treated as a hotly contested resource. Rooftops will have to be thoughtfully partitioned, with sunlight allocated in proper proportion to roof gardens, interior daylighting (skylights), photovoltaics, and solar hot water (though increasingly efficient PV panels are […]
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 […]
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 […]