December 2009

Dream The Impossible

We live across the street from the last remnant of San Francisco’s agricultural heritage, the Portola Greenhouses. These greenhouses have captured the imagination of every art student this side of the Rockies and I’m sure have made it into the thesis hall of fame in the photography programs at CCA, SF Art Institute and the Art Academy of San Francisco (my apologies to the patient professors).

Why is it that an agricultural remnant of dilapidated greenhouses captures the imagination of the young and idealiastic? It certainly nudged me towards an offer on our house 11 years ago when I was a young babe of 35+ (young in architectural age).
Idealism and dreaming is the reason we have a new president. Idealism and dreaming is why we will hopefully have the first sustainable, urban, high density, agricultural development in San Francisco on this 2.2 acre site, right in my front yard.

Meet Juan and David, who came to our office a few weeks ago, bursting at the seams with enthusiasm for this project, and gave us the low down on their work over the last seven years.

Seems all they need is an option on the property to move ahead.
With christmas cookies in tow, we will head over to or Italian neighbors this weekend and do our best to sprinkle the magic of neighborly love with seeds for the future.

December 2009


It is compelling to think that we as human beings can mend our unsustainable ways by looking to nature for suggestions. It is an idea so clear that it borders on obvious. Architects, designers, artists have always drawn inspiration from their surroundings, but in the field of biomimetics distinction is given to the natural world as a source of ideas.

I for one share the same smoldering romance with the concept of nature that I imagine the rest of the western world does. Haven’t we all been struggling with the sense that humans have been cast from the garden? Don’t we dream of getting back, as long as nature plays nice and lets us take hot baths? Here biomimicry promises the best of both worlds – natural beauty and simplicity bent gently to our will.

It is a beautiful pursuit to be sure, the examination of biological systems to educate our industrial ones. Biomimicry is a necessary semantic rest stop on the road from our consumer based lifestyle to one more in line with our circumstances. I can’t wait until we shake the idea of nature as a separate thing from humanity. I also wouldn’t mind replacing the idea of mimicry with something less insular. Circumstantial Collaboration sounds real dumb though.