19 October 2006

sf: too pretty for its own good?

is san francisco ugly? architecturally, yes, according to witold in a slate article. he goes on to pull his punch a bit, basically saying that the buildings in SF lack edge.

why? well perhaps because there is no historical architectural tradition, there are no local "starchitects" to create a modern movement or raise the public consciousness (such as Frank Gehry in LA) and even guest architects don't do their best work in the city by the bay. but my favorite explanation is that SF's location is just too stunning, too beautiful. as if any attempt at architecture would be overshined by the gourgeousness of the place itself.

today's question: can you make striking and important architecture in a city that is too pretty?

unrelated: an interview with wonder showzen creators john lee and vernon chatman. apparently the second season is now out on dvd. but you've already downloaded it, right?

1 comment:

Mr. Michael said...

If you look at Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater," the answer is inevitably yes - great architecture can exist harmoniously side-by-side natural beauty. Yet the structure must fit within the given context and not seek to "one-up" it and draw attention to itself. This was always Wright's first principle.