Over at the SF Appeal, I’ve written a brief review of the new sculpture garden at SFMOMA. Here, an excerpt from that post.
Afters three years of competition, construction, and even a little controversy, the new sculpture garden at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art made its public debut on May 10th, Mother’s Day. Designed by Jensen Architects with CMG Landscape Architecture, the new rooftop addition is almost Miesian in its elegant simplicity: glass and steel boxes surrounding an artfully composed open-air courtyard. In fact, the design specifically recalls Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. There too, a glass facade opens out onto a walled sculpture garden; a respite from the sparseness and propriety of the formal Modern Art Gallery. But here, instead of natural growth poking out above the surrounding walls as it does in Berlin, it’s the urban landscape of San Francisco high-rise towers. As has been noted by many a critic and visitor, the emotional effect of the garden is that of an urban oasis.
Indeed, from the new sculpture garden, the sounds of traffic merge with the whirrs and hums of nearby HVAC units into an almost ocean-like white noise. The occasional police siren rings through the air like a proxy gull call. Grab a latte from the Bay Area’s own Blue Bottle Coffee, provided by the kiosk prominently installed at the head of the museum’s addition (the high-design, local equivalent of a Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble?), and sit at one of the well-designed benches or cafe tables and forget your concerns and obligations to the surrounding city. What better way to spend an afternoon or a lunch hour than admiring work by noted sculptors like Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly?
Read the entire review at the SF Appeal.
[Australian Pavilion image via Dezeen]
- Designed by Davide Marchetti Architetto, the Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is something between Daniel Libeskind’s new Contemporary Jewish Museum and Lacaton Vassal’s proposal for The Architecture Foundation in London. Needless to say, I like it. [Dezeen]
- On Frank Gehry’s Serpentine Pavilion: “…it feels like a giant model – as though through some freakish accident we’ve been shrunk to the size of 1:100 plastic people. The timber posts and beams seemingly lock into each like a giant replica of modelshop balsa handiwork. The way one stick joins to another has been blown up into a gargantuan simulated detail. The model-replica sensation makes me look up, almost expecting to see a giant globule of UHU frozen mid drip above my head. If anything, here it’s all been too well resolved. You can feel the hand of an executive architect faithfully reproducing the models intent, but somehow missing its point… [Strangeharvest]
- Just in time for the Olympics, The New York Times graphics department have outdone themselves with some interactive maps of Beijing. [New York Times]
- The X-Men move from upstate New York to San Francisco, setting up shop beneath the bunkers of the Marin Headlands. Apparently our status as a Sanctuary City extends to mutants as well. Highlights from Uncanny X-Men #500 include Cyclops broadcasting a psychic message to all the mutants of the world from the top of the Transamerica Pyramid and Magneto attacking SFMOMA with a trio of giant Sentinel robots. I’m guessing Mario Botta never saw that one coming. [SF Gate]
- Fluid migration, flood management, and Chertoff as a self-made Moses. “I just find it totally bizarre, symbolic, and possibly a foreshadowing scenario as borders, security, hydrology, and migration have, literally and metaphorically, fallen into the same state of disaster together here.” [Subtopia]
- Trend Watch: Building columns that blossom into undulating roof structure — or inversely, roofs that melt into building columns. Coming to a 2nd year studio near you. [A Daily Dose]