May 14, 2007

Snugly Iconic

Botta's SFMOMA building, snugly familiar after all these years just off Mission, so often (as in the Wikipedia article) referred to as "iconic". But for me it's not the Botta that's iconic, it's the beautiful graceful old Pacific Telephone building behind it that's the icon — the museum would be diminished greatly without that pale tall backdrop setting it off in off-centred contrast, growing out of it organically as you get the canonical glimpse of it from Yerba Buena gardens. Iconic's not the word, then, but there's something nicely generous and self-effacing about the way the museum manages to draw attention to its background (or the way the space around Third and Mission works) rather than to itself.

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