Figure/Ground

San Francisco

CONTENTS

San Francisco [ 16 photos ]
Conservatory of Flowers [ 24 photos ]

ARCHITECTURE

St. Mary's Cathedral
   - Belluschi & Nervi [ 23 photos ]

Great weather, friendly people, colorful buildings, just a beautiful city all around, San Francisco bored the heck out of me. I haven't been there in quite a few years and in many ways I was experiencing it for the first time. The freshness didn't lessen the utter lack of interesting things to see or do, however. If you've seen one hilly street lined with San Francisco's signature colorful townhouses you've seen them all. Of course, I am a typical New York snob who finds faults in all American cities not Manhattan, so you might say I'm an equal opportunity hater.

One puzzling thing: There seems to be more hotels than convenience stores. What's that all about? Who is staying in all these hotels?? Am I missing something?

One more puzzling thing: What's the story with the St. Mary's Cathedral? It seems a blatant rip-off of the much more powerful St. Mary's Cathedral in Tokyo (built almost 10 years earlier). The fact that they share the same name makes it doubly vexing. Is it a homage to Tange's design? Or just a copycat? Or does this design actually predate the Tange one? Anyone know? Whatever the case may be, Tange's execution is much more dramatic and effective, particularly inside the cathedral.

All images and text copyright © Liao Yusheng. He can be reached at liao@yusheng.ca.