Masterpieces Take A While

Let’s talk about the Salesforce Transit Center, and allow me to compare it to Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

My ‘deep’ research concludes that the Mona Lisa was commissioned in 1503, and supposedly traveled as a work-in-progress with da Vinci for several years as he was wont to take his time to finish a masterpiece.  It now hangs in The Louvre, and although there is no definitive answer as to when it was completed, we know Leonardo died in 1519, so I’m saying 16 years is the outside date. 

In August 2018, I had breakfast with Fred Clarke, founder of Pelli Clarke Pelli, renowned architects of many structures throughout the world, including the Salesforce Tower and Transit Center. He was in San Francisco for the grand opening of the Transit Center. He got my attention when he said that the folks at Pelli (back in New Haven) were having a brainstorming session to find a way to differentiate their (planned) proposal from the competition. That was in 2006. The Pelli team surmised that future transit center neighbors would not want to look down on a bunch of buses spewing forth CO2, so they came up with the idea to essentially take a 1500’ structure, place it on its side, and put a 5.3-acre park on the top of it. Voila, the Transit Center. Here is a graphic:

Before it closed, I had made 15 to 20 visits to the Center to enjoy what the Pelli folks had wrought. I also spoke to Julie Chang, the woman who designed the Transit Center’s lobby floor terrazzo artwork (see photo at top of article), Ned Kahn, who designed the geyser fountains on the north side of the park which are triggered by bus comings and goings (and picture here), and folks at Webcor, the general contractor, plus folks at Transbay Joint Powers Authority who own/manage the property. These are the people who created this masterpiece: my heroes/heroines.

Okay, it has few cracks that need repair. So what? Apparently, Leonardo needed some 30+ paint layers to get the Mona Lisa right.

Masterpieces take a while!

2019-02-18T16:44:09+00:00 Happenings|