Posts Tagged ‘John Portman’

The Perils of “Brutal” Architecture: Our Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hasn’t Aged All That Well

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Here’s your “brutal architecture” from architect John Portman over at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. Well, part of it, anyway.

The no-longer-revolving site of the former Equinox Restaurant:

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(Yes, they leave their Christmas lights, oh, I’m sorry, “holiday” lights up all year ’round, a practice considered “tacky” where I’m from.)

The whole place is nothing but concrete, plus some tiles on the floor.

This the lobby from above – tile everywhere:

Via Brandon Doran

But see what the employees have done? They’ve laid down some carpeting, you know, to ease the pain, the brutality:

(Especially when there’s water on the floor on a rainy day, you can’t really tell that you’re inside a building. Some guests don’t like that.)

Anyway, all the deets:

“This seminal 20-story gray concrete structure—designed by influential architect John Portman, who launched the trend toward indoor-outdoor hotel environments—is the focal point of the Embarcadero Center, where more than 100 shops and restaurants cater to the Financial District. The spectacular 17-story atrium lobby (listed by Guinness World Records as the largest hotel lobby in the world)…”

“Cozy” this place is not.

Take a visit sometime, why not?

Dirty Harry 1970′s Time Capsule: Groove on KGO’s Orange Chopper and KPIX 5′s Robin’s Egg Blue Van

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Well, Dirty Harry debuted 40 years ago so let’s use his movie series to see what the 415 looked like back in the 1970′s.

From The Enforcer, here’s KGO Radio’s groovy orange Bell 47J Ranger, looking not that much different from the choppers they used on M*A*S*H*.

Above the old Embarcadero Freeway and close to the build site for Embarcadero 4 (our youngest Embarcadero, it turns out) and Embarcadero 5,  the crazy Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hotel:

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And back then, the Equinox revolving restaurant actually revolved. See it atop the Hyatt?

“The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is a large, imposing exposed concrete structure. It was built in 1972, designed by notorious architect John Portman. He is known for his outlandish designs. The Hyatt Regency here is no exception. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try. It was built as a modern concrete structure around an atrium with extensive use of odd angles…presumably to take advantage of the odd, triangular-shaped property and beautiful bay/city views. From some angles it looks like a normal building, others like a pyramid, and from yet others like spires shooting up to the sky. It’s extremely unique and enjoyable to look at by us architecture and engineering dweebs. To everyone else, it’s a big gaudy hotel that is seriously starting to look dated architecturally.”

Now here’s Harry leaving City Hall back in the mid-1970′s – can you imagine an uglier color than this blue?

I can’t.

Anyway, stay groovy…