In a recent Fast Company article, Ken Carbonecompares the dueling personalities of The Academy of Sciences (inviting) and the de Young (imposing). Actually, the headline goes much further (maybe he didn't write the headline?): the Academy of "Life" and the de Young is "Lifeless." Zing!
Other architects have had similar things to say, though they've reached different conclusions. Randy Nishimura recently wrote that while the Academy looks outward and the de Young looks inward, he was surprised to find that he preferred the de Young, since it was more sculptural and authored. Is the de Young a museum that only an architect could love?
"The real winner is Golden Gate Park," Ken writes, "it provides a neutral DMZ between the two institutional combatants."
Yes, all is quiet in the neutral zone ... until Renzo Piano finishes constructing his elaborate glass trebuchet.
Piano says great difficulties were taken to make The Academy of Sciences blend in with its surronding and look like it was part of the park.
"What we've done here is almost like cutting a piece of the park, lifting up and putting the building underneath and taking down again the roof," he said.