What did I learn from the exhibit in Berkeley.
- The college has an exhibit space at Wurster Hall for shows like this. I should be going there more often.
- Architecture and Urban Planning departments seem to always be in the ugliest building on campus.
- Two genuinely surprising pieces were on display. One exciting one should have been built, the other was more about the process and less about the image on display.
- Taking detailed photography of models and renderings on display in a semi-low light room is no task for an iPhone 4S. I must buy a real camera. My apologies for not providing crisper images.
Exciting - but sadly never "built"The most surprising and exciting display was an audacious 1991 proposal from two architects, Byron Kuth and Liz Ranieri, to retain one single section of the Embarcadero Freeway as a "physical reminder of past planning mistakes." A detailed 3-D model is the main attraction (as seen below). The proposal called for "cutting a hole into the [section] and allowing a redwood tree to emerge."
I saw a piece of the Cypress Freeway structure in Oakland that was preserved for several months to perform tests. Seeing a single section of freeway alone was quite striking, both for knowing the death and physical tragedy of the collapse, but also the odd and hypnotically strange sight of a single section of freeway. If this proposal had been carried out, I believe it would have been beautiful, haunting, and a great reminder of a big planning mistake, not to mention, provide nice views of the Bay.
Too bad the Chronicle never printed their letter. The renderings would have looked more realistic with green redwood trees. All in all, I think this would have really been a great space pointing to the past, much like old city walls in European cities, and pointing to the future with the adaptive reuse of the structure.
Location: The triangle lot of Embarcadero, Howard and Steuart.
Current Use: Asphalt open space.
Yes, that's right, the space that was once a freeway "wall" is nothing today, not even a green plaza. Granted, it's a small triangular lot, so it'd be harder than normal to build there, but I imagine a building or a park could fit in the space nonetheless.
I figured out where it was by noticing the parking structure looking building in the background of the model. Putting together Embarcadero and parking structure, I could only think of the one next to Gap, Inc. headquarters.