Thursday, July 3, 2014

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

One of my favorite architectural monuments anywhere is the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I find myself visiting this location every time I'm in the city.
Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition the structure was intended to only be temporary.
However it proved to be so popular it was left standing long after the exposition thanks to Phoebe Hearst.
By 1965 the 'temporary' nature of the materials was evident and the palace was in ruins. It was torn down and rebuilt of steel and lightweight concrete. Later still it was reinforced for earthquakes.
Originally designed by local architect Bernard Maybeck the structure is a fantasy of Greek and Roman architecture.
 I've always wondered what these women statues were looking at!
 The detail work is still crisp and beautiful.
Notice the scale: it's so immense that people look like ants and barely show up in photographs! As always you can click on the photos to view them larger.
I wish these stepped planters were in use -it would look phenomenal with creeping vines, boxwood, rosebushes, etc.
You probably recognize the Palace of Fine Arts from numerous fashion shoots and advertisements.  I remember a lot of car advertisements from the 70s and 80s.
 The interior of the dome is no less grand.
Again notice the scale of the urns -the door to the lower right hand corner above is probably 7'-0" tall and has a transom over it.
The Palace of Fine Arts sits in the Marina district -a residential neighborhood. Those are some lucky houses with quite the view!
We were lucky to have a gorgeous day to wander around the marina and the Palace of Fine Arts.  It's rather remote away from other touristy areas so never seems to be too crowded in my limited experience.
If you find yourself in San Francisco make sure to visit the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District, you won't regret it!