Socially Progressive, Architecturally Conservative
A San Francisco Paradox
It is easy to understand why San Francisco is socially progressive. The city has been unencumbered by social mores since the Barbary Coast days of the 1849 California Gold Rush. It has always been a magnet for free spirited individuals seeking opportunity and fortune in a place with a pleasant climate. Oddly so, as any architect who has practiced here will tell you, it is a rough place in which to be creative.
Why is Most of it so Ugly?
I miss Andy Rooney. He was a true curmudgeon. He would appear for a short satirical piece during 60 Minutes and begin by asking, “Did you ever wonder . . .” and then he would end with, “Now why is that?”
He walked onto the stage and for an uncomfortably long time said nothing as if he were about to have a senior moment or worse. Finally he uttered something about how he wished those of us in the audience could see what he did – a crowd of bright young faces filled with hope and curiosity. Buckminster Fuller was all about the future.
Rhino to Reality
690 Folsom Street – Designing to Eight Significant Figures
Parametric modeling has allowed architects to create precise and complex geometric forms, however, harnessing of this virtual tool to produce built work has been rare to date. Translation of the cybernetic model into actual gravity resisting substance requires a combination of nuanced approaches to construction as well as reliance on traditional methods of project delivery. It begins with single digit concerns and then becomes rather complex.
Architects have relied on the Vitruvian Virtues of “commodity, firmness, delight” as the formula for good design for centuries. But, there are some who believe that is time to retire this age-old adage and argue that commodity and firmness are really in the same pedestrian category, sort of prerequisites for every building, and what we architects need to focus on is delight or seeking out a deeper meaning for our creations.