Browse Exhibits (24 total)

Planning with Nature

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Founded in 1913, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning celebrated its centennial in 2013! This exhibition examines the history and guiding principles o the department - innovation, social responsibility, and research through the works of tis students, faculty, staff and alumni. Historical, archival, and cutting edge material from the Environmetal design Archives, Visual Resources Center, and Environmental Design Library were used for this exhibit.

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Designed Necessities

“…the signs of human presence are the only elements of the landscape that have any moral or aesthetic significance at all.”1

Humans are responsible for the beauty, utility, and effects of the technology we use to create the industrial landscape. Infrastructure — the common sights of the built environment— forms the critical yet often reviled or overlooked elements of the urban ecosystem. These key elements include the methods, means, and structures that support the creation and transmission of power, the management and distribution of water, mechanisms of communication, and the myriad forms of transportation.

This exhibit uses original sketches, photographs, drawings, and books provided by the Environmental Design Archives and Environmental Design Library to illustrate the technical structures and facilities necessary for our society to function. As elements in the designed landscape, power sources, clean water, streets, roads, bridges, and various methods of transportation have all felt the hand of the architect and landscape architect. These elements of the industrial ecosystem provide the structural framework to respond to societal demand and the physical world.

[1] Hayes, Brian. Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape. New York, W.W. Norton, 2005

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Exceptional Expositions

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While fairs of the 1930s turned to the future as a foil to the Great Depression, the Golden Gate International Exposition conjured up geographical metaphors to explore the nature of San Francisco's place in what organizers called "Pacific Civilization." The fair proposed a vision of the Pacific as an antidote to the troubled Atlantic world, then descending into chaos for the second time in a generation. Architects took up the theme and projected the regionalist sensibilities of Northern California onto Asian and Latin American architecture. Their eclectic, referential buildings drew widely on the cultural traditions of ancient Cambodia, China, and Mexico, as well as the International Style, Art Deco, and the Bay Region Tradition. Buildings supported the cultural and political work of the fair and fashioned a second, parallel world in a moment of economic depression and international turmoil.

Bernard Maybeck and William Merchant designed a spirited Tower of Youth that, had it been built, would have been a pendant to the Palace of Fine Arts at the PPIE. Timothy Pflueger, by contrast, built a Federal Building that was equal parts New Deal institutional architecture, Art Deco, and a manifesto of regionalism. Brazil and Argentina’s modernity offset the nostalgic historicism of the Pacific Area, while the Pacific House posed as a vessel of neutrality in the midst of a symbolic Pacific. With images of designs by William Wurster, Ernest Born, Arthur Brown, Jr., and a host of other architects, this exhibit shows a cross-section of architecture in a moment of quickening change in the profession and the wider world.

Unless otherwise stated all material on display is from the Environmental Design Archives. 

It’s on my Desk

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The twelve blotters featured in this exhibit were created by Allan Jacobs during his six year tenure as Director of the San Francisco Department of City Planning. He had two fresh blotters each year on which he “doodled” while on the phone.  They illustrate, both literally and figuratively, issues on the desk of the Planning Director and thoughts generated by these issues.  These blotters also serve as valuable documents of their time and place and as a visual diary of ideas, issues, and politics as well as of personal matters. Titles in the exhibit were based on the content of the blotter.