Back of the Pantheon - Rome
This is perhaps the most recognizable building in the world, but you only see photos of it from the front. Walk around to the back and another story is told. The front is clad in stone, but the rear has exposed brick. I'm not sure how this looked when it was originally built, but if there was stone here originally, it is now gone.
August 3, 2011 Update:
I was looking at some of my other photos I took of the Pantheon and I clearly see remnants of old stone cladding over the brick which is now mostly gone.
Front of Pantheon - Rome
The Pantheon is the oldest building in Rome that has been in continuous use for 2,000 years. Click the photo for a link to a website describing the history of the building.
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium - San Francisco
The idea of saving money on the backside of the house isn't a new one. Here in San Francisco if you stand in the middle of Civic Center Plaza, all you can see are granite clad buildings.
On the south side of the plaza sits Bill Graham Auditorium. Built in the 1920's by architects John Galen Howard, Frederick Meyer, and John Reid, Jr., it fills out one side of the plaza with historic classicism. Walk around the building, however and you will see the building clad only in brick.
The back of the building is quite visible as you cross Market Street, so the decision to clad it in brick rather than granite was probably to save money. They turned the granite around the corner just enough to maintain the view from the plaza.
San Jalisco Restaurant - San Francisco
San Jalisco Restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District is a favorite spot for good Mexican food in a comfortable environment. At 901 South Van Ness and 20th Street, it is just out of the core of crowded Mission Street so parking is a little easier. Situated on the corner with generous windows on two sides, it provides a nicely lighted interior.
Add the bright colors, paper banners, and Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo artwork and it can feel like a party. Mariachi musicians come in to serenade dines and pass around the hat. Formica tables give the place a homey comfortable feel. The food is consistently good and they even serve hand made tortillas. Portions are generous and prices are reasonable so if you want a nice sit down Mexican place, this is it.
San Francisco Art Institute
I was driving down a steep hill and saw this. No, not a hilltop village in Europe, but the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) hidden away on Russian Hill. Built in 1926 by the architectural firm of Bakewell Brown. It boasts a mural by Diego Rivera and many prominent artists have taught there.
San Francisco Art Institute.
A 1969 addition was completed by the architect Paffard Keatinge Clay.
The addition is a good example of 1960's brutalist architecture of the time and complements the existing building. The rooftop plaza have magnificent views of San Francisco.
Paffard Clay was an apprentice for Corbusier in Paris and his influence is clear in this addition. As I've blogged before, Paffard Keatinge Clay was a architecture instructor at UC Berkeley. You can see that blog by clicking here.
There is nothing more important in my circle of family and friends than a reliable Chinese restaurant with good food and reasonable ("cheap") prices. At Golden Horse (Hyde and California Streets), we ordered off the the "wo choy" (fixed price) menu that included soup, five entrees, and dessert. In the old days, the wo choy menu was printed only in Chinese. You either had to be able to read Chinese or have a waiter who was willing to translate it for you -- good luck!
We had mustard greens with salted egg soup, beef stew tofu clay pot, crispy flounder, salt and pepper pork spareribs, seafood and greens, Chinese broccoli with Oyster sauce, and tapioca coconut dessert. The standout dish is the whole crispy flounder -- deep fried with succulent meat. Amazing they can produce all this food for $33.88! The owners and staff are friendly and welcome you as old friends when you come in. Golden Horse is well-known among the San Francisco cheap good Chinese restaurant cognoscenti.
If you go, take a good look at the Cala market across the street with it's distinctive swooping concrete shell roof-lines. It's scheduled to be demolished soon. As a kid I used to drive by and stare at the interesting architecture of the building.
Vivande Restorante 670 Golden Gate Avenue - San Francisco
Sacro Bosco - Bomarzo, Italy
This doorway at Opera Plaza near San Francisco's Civic Center at 670 Golden Gate Avenue is left over from the former Vivande Restorante. It appears to be inspired by the post-renaissance garden Sacro Basco in Bomarzo, Italy and called Dante's "Gates of Hell". Here fantastic figures abound in this example of the mannerist movement dating from the 16th Century. It makes a memorable doorway for an Italian restaurant, but now it is a doorway to a mortgage company.
You may feel a little queasy going in to sign your life away. Totally out of character for its current use and out of character for the entire building, I've always wondered why it is still there. It makes for an interesting doorway at any rate.