Monday, June 27, 2005

  • The Palace of Fine Arts

  • mom and dad 2 -1 -2005 083
    Originally uploaded by S'mee.

    One of my favorite places to visit in San Francisco is the Palace of Fine Arts. Built by Bernard Maybeck in 1915, it stands near the bay in a terrific neighborhood surrounded by elite homes and green gardens. Land obviously is at a premium in the Bay Area, and to see the green lawn and the reflection pools is a treat.

    The pool is actually an ancient wet land used by Maybeck purposely to reflect the structures beauty. Unfortunately Maybeck could not or did not see the future and the the pool is has begun to sink into itself, taking the surrounding flora with it! There is danger of the entire grounds being destroyed and evidence that the structures themselves are already pressured and stressing.

    The solution? A bake sale. Well, not exactly, but the city of San Francisco has designated a committee to oversee the reconstruction and repair of the entire park. The city has also approved and set aside $4.9 million for the project and asking for another $16 million in donations! The work has already begun with the tagging of trees and structural reinforcements. In the mean time it takes some of the beauty away from the park, but not much - it's still so peaceful and thought provoking to walk these grounds and listen to the birds and water while seeing a new piece of the monument you missed the time before.

    mom and dad 2 -1 -2005 109
    Originally uploaded by S'mee.

    This photo demonstrates how the trees' roots are unsupported and the weight of the plants, trees, and foliage pull into the lake. Trees all along the edge of the water have already been swallowed whole, exposing their root balls to the sky as if a giant reached down and plucked them out of the ground like an errant weed; tree tops under the water and limbs reaching out like a drowning victim. It is sad to witness and one hopes that it can be saved in time.

    The walkways are also in danger; some have been blocked from use. The black asphalt border that surrounds the perimeter looks as if it has been melted and rolled under the surface. Chain link fencing has been put up as a safety precaution. One cannot walk near the water's edge as in years past. It it an enormous sink hole.

    If you are interested in the history of this edifice or would like to contribute to it's restoration, please visit the link in the title of this post. (All private donations up to $500,00 will be doubled thanks to Maurice Kanbar.) There are so many facts, interesting tidbits, and many photos- that I would be here all day repeating what has already been written. Click here for a virtual tour, enjoy!

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