New Mission Theater

November 19th, 2016

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 […]

Multi-Culti Gestures

March 13th, 2016

Norwegian high-pitched roofs, Dutch gables, Russian Orthodox domes, Spanish colonial facades — scores of newcomers have visited upon San Francisco’s skyline the architecture of their homelands. These were built by immigrants, for immigrants, and evinced authentic culture. In contrast, it is downright disingenuous when an institution dons an ethnic pastiche of whatever culture happens to […]

Cultural Expression

January 16th, 2016

Most architects just throw out something in hacienda style when they want to reflect the local culture here in the Mission…

Carving through Nature

October 18th, 2015

The degree of a street grid’s impact on the natural landscape is revealed here. Note the negligible cut-and-fill at Holly Park compared with the grading required closer to Bernal Hill’s slopes. Freeways get the lion’s share of man’s hubris.

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 […]

Ironic Façade

November 6th, 2012

Perched on Dolores at Cesar Chavez is a house with the kind of cardboard cornice you see everywhere. But the fun thing about this one is the shamelessness of its pretense. On the south end, an ornamental bracket props up the unapologetically decorative end of the sham. The longer you look at this façade, though, […]

Perspective Trick

March 20th, 2011

This English Gothic church seems to use the Rennaisance technique of perspective distortion to enhance its presence on Church Street.

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?