The poor architecture of San Francisco. – By Witold Rybczynski – Slate Magazine
The San Francisco Paradox
When good cities have bad architecture.
. By contrast, San Francisco epitomizes a different, older model: a thriving city with a prosperous commercial past (in this case a port) that gradually became what urban economists call a “glamour city.” Glamour cities are centers of international business (New York), political power (Washington, D.C.), and the New Economy (Boston). They usually have a 19th-century infrastructure of museums, concert halls, and well-preserved residential architecture, and they are where the wealthy, the well-educated, and the ambitious want to live. High-end demand, in turn, produces real estate values that—even in the current slump—are an order of magnitude greater than elsewhere. These cities are vibrant, livable, prosperous, and well-managed. San Francisco, on top of all this, has a temperate climate and a great natural setting. What it doesn’t have is great architecture.
Architecturally speaking, San Francisco has been like a beautiful, rich woman who has never developed an interest in cooking and serves TV dinners to her family, then occasionally—somewhat frantically—hires caterers whenever she has company for dinner.
Well this is certainly interesting read.