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November 02, 2007


Ayse Birsel

Love Renzo Piano. Thank you for the article. He is very deserving (I am biased too). Here is a paragraph I once wrote for Centre Pompidou:

This is a cool building because, Renzo Piano was merely 35 when he designed it with Rogers; because it looks and works like a beautiful machine; because it turned then defunct Les Halles into a cultural meeting point; because it houses some of the best exhibits of all time; because when you descend its sloped mouth into the museum you feel giddy; because to be able to bring in its huge castings, made in Germany and not France, without a social up rise (this was right after 1968) they trucked them through the streets of Paris in the darkest hours of the night when everyone was sleeping; because the city official who opposed its landmark air ducts that sore out of the ground like that of a boat, died from a heart attack, his passing away enabling the design to go on as intended. A cautionary tale to all those who oppose good design.

Ayse Birsel

m powell

I guess I am the only one, who finds the DeYoung museum poorly planned and designed. The tower that all fawn over is ugly and has no real visual appeal. The front entrance is disguised and hard to locate. The reception desk looks to be a left over from a 1960's airline terminal. Paintings are installed over cold air vents mounted in the floor along the walls. Is this good architecture and design?
Not to a person who has been to many museums in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and the United States.
How about taking a look at some of the remarkable designs by Calatrava for art, engineering and architecture that really works.

Bruce Prescott

I am sure you will hear this more than once, but your article commits another sin of omission: local architects Chong and Partners (now Stantec) are an important part of the design team as are the engineers. To replace the complete non-mention of the architect with veneration of only the stars may be a Pyrrhic victory.


I find it equally if not more discouraging that landscape architects are even less respected and even less effort is put into understanding the process and work which goes into envisioning the public spaces which we inhabit on a daily basis. I'd venture to say that even fewer people could tell you the name of the LA who designed the landscape for the De Young.

Steven Hanks

Not to argue with characterizing SF as parochial -- it is, and sometimes that's one of its charms.

But to say there is no "tradition" of covering architecture in journalism is to miss out on some of the great battles of the decades. Both the Chronicle and the weekly Guardian have given plenty attention to new buildings over the years.

Unfortunately, SF went through several decades of new architecture from name brand architects that not only was dreadful on architectural terms, but was destructive to the city itself. This may have led to a public suspicion of anything new -- disappointment grew into bitterness.

I also want to recommend the writings of Allan Temko, who covered architecture with passion and insight in the Chronicle in those years.

Cinda Gilliland

Maybe when the Chronicle decides to recognize the importance of architects it will also be ready to acknowledge the work of other designers important to the final outcome of a successful project. An elaborate green roof like the Academy's and an appropriate site design don't happen without input from landscape architects(SWA Group, in this case).

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