New Museum Turns Away From Starchitecture

Last year, plans for a new museum in San Francisco's Presidio were criticized for being harsh and not in keeping with the feel of the park. Back from the drawing board, John King says the new plans are much more in character and less iconic.
March 3, 2009, 7am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Instead of a sharp-edged stack of concrete and glass, it's a low pavilion with a landscaped roof. The pavilion burrows into the earth and includes a public thruway, rather than rising up, as its predecessor did, to demand attention within the historic heart of the army base turned national park.

What hasn't changed is the location: The Fisher family still seeks to place its contemporary art collection on a prominent site between 19th century red-brick barracks and the site of the original 1776 Spanish settlement. That's anathema to critics who, for reasons ranging from traffic to the non-Presidio focus, don't want the facility anywhere in the park.

But for anyone open to a cultural showplace within the park's Main Post, the new approach shows that compromise is possible. It's also a real step in the right direction - even if the architecture is too sketchy at this stage to say if the changes will add up to a design that deserves public support."

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Published on Sunday, March 1, 2009 in San Francisco Chronicle
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