In light of the uproar last year, the design for the contemporary art collection museum to be located in San Francisco's Presidio has been amended by New York architect, Richard Gluckmanto to try to relate to its site and the surrounding buildings without being an icon in itself.
With the new plans, instead of a sharp-edged stack of concrete and glass, it's a low pavilion with a landscaped roof. The pavilion burrows into the earth and includes a public thruway, rather than rising up, as its predecessor did, to demand attention within the historic heart of the army base turned national park. The museum, being funded by Gap founder, Donald Fisher is still to be located on a prominent site between 19th century red-brick barracks and the site of the original 1776 Spanish settlement. That's anathema to critics who, for reasons ranging from traffic to the non-Presidio focus, don't want the facility anywhere in the park.
The current plan also reduces the gross square footage from over 100,000 square feet to just about 76,000, reduces the building height from 50 ft to 27 and the main structural material has been changed from precast concrete to masonry and wood.
Gallery spaces would be housed in a long and relatively narrow two-story structure; the lower level would rest beneath the existing slope, opening onto three sculpture courts. The upper level would be clad mostly in glass, topped by a roof with a series of pitches that ripple toward the parade ground and shade the galleries. The roof would be "green" a la the California Academy of Sciences and framed in a white lacquered wood similar to what clads other Main Post structures. Again this was to make sure that he museum feel like part of the larger district.
I'm still not sure that the new designs adequately complement the site as well as it could but at least proper steps are being taken to lead the design in the right direction. I always groan when I see a building that screams for notice without enhancing its surroundings and its good to see that the Fisher family have been made to understand a little bit of this.
Images obtained from: www.sfgate.com