The Ghost of Architecture Past

Architecture critic John King laments the could-have-been: a beautiful Toyo Ito museum designed for UC Berkeley and killed for financial reasons. And yet the un-built project represents a new connection between town and gown, says King.

King writes, "The city of Berkeley traditionally has acted as though its downtown bore no relation to UC, despite their shared border. The university repaid the favor by treating downtown like a back alley, necessary but of little note.

In the course of two years of design work, town and gown began to see how their interests are linked. Berkeley's long-struggling downtown can only benefit from the addition of a cultural anchor. As for the university, it now seems to grasp that in an age of urbanity and mass transit, there's a benefit to looking west."

Full Story: Cities full of unfilled architectural dreams



John King, Toyo Ito, and Architectural Objects

I pass this corner several times a week, and I am glad that I will not have to look at the Toyo Ito museum.

To see the sort of architecture John King likes, look at his review of a parking garage at and click on the image to enlarge it and see what the garage actually looks like.

Anyone walking by on the sidewalk obviously experiences this garage as a bleak glass-and-concrete wall; it is hard to imagine worse urbanism.

But King loves it because he thinks of it purely as an artsy sculptural object. He doesn't care at all about creating good places for people to be.

Charles Siegel



It looks like a cheese grater.

The people of San Francisco were fortunate in avoiding that thing.


Oops, Berkeley. Point still stands, though...

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