May 2008 Archives

A Little Architecture About Town


I've changed how I walk to work slightly to avoid all the smokers on Market, and now I go by this site every day. This is the Contemporary Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Liebskind. Wikipedia says it opened in 2007, but it seems remarkably difficult to get into it on account of how they are in the process of placing concrete to make the large plaza that will connect it to Yerba Buena Gardens. I'm not a big fan of cultural museums like this (I prefer science or art museums), so it hasn't occurred to me to visit before now.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

The museum is on a pedestrian alley that connects Market St. to Mission, the location of Beard Papa (which is closed when I make my commute, so no temptation to stop and get a $2.25 cream puff every day, thank goodness) and some interesting water features. There are a few of these pedestrian alleys along Market and they are always interesting, although not always very alive. This one is more so because it has a few restaurants along it, and also it is wider than the usual ones.

This is one of the fountains, which are very subtle but look like a lot of work (see the mineral stains on the bottom there?). I like how they add the sound of moving water without having spouts of water shooting everywhere. In a windy area, spouts of shooting water always mean wet pedestrians.

Water features in the alley

On Wednesday, I got a different view, because a few of us went out to the UCSF Mission Bay campus to do a materials study (holding material samples up to the walls of existing buildings and photographing them for comparison). The building I'm working on is out there, and the client wants the colour scheme to fit with the neighboring buildings to reinforce the sense of campus. While we were there I took this photo, from the terrace on Genentech Hall looking downtown.

View from Genentech Hall, UCSF Mission Bay

The campus is remarkably postmodern, which is not a great thing in my mind -- I think the whole pomo thing is going to look very dated in a very short time. Also, I think it tends to look a little sterile and contrived. Fortunately, most of the buildings have managed to avoid looking like they belong at Disneyland (Michael Graves designed much of Disney's corporate architecture).

UCSF Mission Bay is the research/technology campus (hence places like Genentech Hall) on the edge of a big redevelopment of Mission Bay into a biotech center. It's pretty ambitious on the part of the city, and it seems to be doing well so far.

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