July 2013

The City: A Garden of Ideas

As the most recent addition to Boor Bridges Architecture, I am very excited to work with this talented team of designers, thinkers, and makers. I relocated to this beautiful city from the mountains of Western North Carolina. I hail from a lush Appalachian landscape, climatically classified as a temperate rainforest, with every bit of the biodiversity one would expect to accompany such a title. I lived in Asheville, a city known for its arts community, excellent restaurants, and abundance of breweries. It is a city that takes pride in its history and is home to some exquisite examples of 1920’s architecture.

As a city, it is very connected to, and affected by, its topographical surroundings. I’m certainly no stranger to hills or fog! San Francisco seems to have a similar relationship to its geographical location, but on a much larger scale. There is something so beautiful about the layers of San Francisco. The juxtaposition of natural conditions and willful human intervention is fascinating. I find this particularly apparent at the places where the logic of the city grid, which so arbitrarily slices across topography, succumbs to the realities of this area’s violent geological history. This also happens in the green spaces of San Francisco, in the gardens, yards and parks that were preserved to carve out pockets of private and public outdoor space.

On my first visit to San Francisco years ago, I left with the idea that this was a garden city, where succulents grow at every doorstep and flowering trees of a Dr. Seuss-like variety line the streets. San Francisco is a garden of people, of transplants and natives, a composition of cultures, blooming with specimens of every color, shape, and size. It is also a garden of ideas, to borrow the title of Peter Cook’s monograph on contemporary urban conditions. As a new transplant to this garden, I look forward to exploring the landscape and all the ideas that are embedded in this city, ready to be discovered.