Traveling is the best way to get inspired and also, a great reminder on why we became designers, in the first place. Looking at pictures does not give you the same sensational experience as walking through the city does. There is something magical about traveling to a new city and exploring its history and culture. So grab a travel buddy (or by yourself) and book your next flight. To make it easier to navigate through the city, Dzzyn.com has picked 10 must see architecture and landscape in San Francisco, California. Hearing back from you is the best part of our day, so take a minute to enlighten us of your favorite places in San Francisco in the comment section below.
:: 1 :: Golden Gate Bridge | Engineer(s): Joseph Strauss, Leon Moisseiff, Charles Alton Ellis, & Architect: Irving Morrow | Project Year: 1937 | Type: Landmark/Urban | Address: Golden Gate Bridge, California | Admission: Free on Foot, Cars: $7.00 | Website: http://goldengatebridge.org
Once called “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” today it is one the seven wonders of the modern world. The 1.7 miles Golden Gate Bridge is easily identified by its International Orange color. Opened in 1937, the bridge was built at a cost of $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest and 11 workers’ lives. The single-suspension span is anchored by twin towers that reach skyward 746 feet, and was once taller than any building in San Francisco.
:: 2 :: California Academy of Sciences | Architect(s): Renzo Piano | Project Year: 2008 | Photographs: Tim Griffith | Type: Museum/Educational | Address: 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118 | Admission: $34.95 | Website: http://www.calacademy.org
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens. The Academy optimizes use of resources, minimizes environmental impacts, and serves as an educational model by demonstrating how humans can live and work in environmentally-responsible ways. “With the new Academy, we have created a museum that is visually and functionally linked to its natural surroundings, metaphorically lifting up a piece of the park and putting a building underneath.” Renzo Piano
:: 3 :: De Young Museum | Architect(s): Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron & Fong + Chan | Project Year: 2005 | Type: Museum/Educational | Address: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118 | Admission: $10.00, Observation Tower: Free | Website: http://deyoung.famsf.org
The De Young, a fine arts museum located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles, and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Architecturally, the entire exterior is clad in copper, which is expected to eventually oxidize and take on a greenish tone and a distinct texture to echo the nearby eucalyptus trees. A 144 ft. (44 m) observation tower allows visitors to see much of Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse and rises above the Park’s treetops providing a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and California Academy of Sciences.
:: 4 :: Lombard Street | Architect(s): Carl Henry | Project Year: 1922 | Type: Urban/Landscape | Address: Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94133 | Admission: Free
Lombard Street is one of the most unique of the vertically endowed roads surrounded by beautiful victorian mansions and is a great stop to add to any itinerary. In the spring and through the entire summer, Lombard Street is alive with color, as the many beautiful flowers are in bloom. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922, was intended to reduce the hill’s natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles.
:: 5 :: Contemporary Jewish Museum (Extension) | Architect(s): Daniel Libeskind | Project Year: 2005 | Type: Museum/Educational | Address: 736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103 | Admission: $12.00 | Website: www.thecjm.org
The 63,000 square foot facility marries many of the character-defining features of the original substation with bold contemporary spaces, emanating a powerful connection between tradition and innovation and reflects the Museum’s mission to celebrate Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas within the context of 21st-century perspectives. From the outside, the extension is most remarkable for its unique shape, as well as its skin: a vibrant blue metallic steel, which changes color depending on the time of day, weather, or one’s vantage point.
:: 6 :: Palace of Fine Arts | Architect(s): Bernard R. Maybeck | Project Year: 1915 | Type: Monumental Structure & Theatre | Address: 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123 | Admission: Free to walk around | Website: https://palaceoffinearts.org
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California, is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. Student of the École des Beaux-Arts, Maybeck’s design reflects the impression of a Roman ruin. The inspiration for the Palace, with its soaring colonnade, grand rotunda, and carefully constructed pond, was meant to evoke quiet sadness and solemnity. It is one of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009.
:: 7 :: Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary | Architect(s): U.S. Army | Project Year: 1910 | Type: Prison/Museum/Educational | Address: San Francisco, CA 94133 | Admission: $39.00 | Website: http://www.alcatraztickets.com
Alcatraz was a maximum high-security Federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles off the coast of San Francisco, California, USA, which operated from 1934 to 1963. The United States Disciplinary Barracks, Pacific Branch on Alcatraz was acquired by the United States Department of Justice on October 12, 1933, and the island became a prison of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in August 1934 after the buildings were modernized to meet the requirements of a top-notch security prison. Given this high security and the location of Alcatraz in the cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, the prison operators believed Alcatraz to be escape-proof and America’s strongest prison. One of the world’s most notorious and best known prisons over the years, Alcatraz housed some 1,576 of America’s most ruthless criminals including Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis. Today the penitentiary is a public museum and one of San Francisco’s major tourist attractions, attracting some 1.5 million visitors annually.
:: 8 :: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Roof Top Garden & New Expansion) | Architect(s): Mario Botta, Jensen & Macy Architects & Snøhetta | Project Year: 1995, 2009 & 2016 | Type: Educational/Museum | Address: 151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103 | Admission: $10.00 | Website: https://www.sfmoma.org
The SFMOMA building, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, closed temporarily in June 2013 for a two-and-a-half-year expansion project. Designed by architecture firm Snøhetta and scheduled to open on May 14, 2016, the expansion will more than double the museum’s gallery spaces and provide almost six times as much public space as the current building. “The museum had to become a landmark, to have iconic strength,” said Mario Botta. His solution was to create a building with simple forms, clear geometry and solid massing – a piece of architecture that would be distinguishable from the “abstract language of downtown buildings,” he said. SFMOMA has since added a rooftop garden to the building, designed by local architect Mark Jensen. The space, completed in 2009, features a glazed pavilion and two open-air terraces, along with a glass-enclosed bridge that connects the space to the fifth-floor galleries. Craig Dykers, a founding partner at Snøhetta said, “Designing a companion for the Botta building was never viewed as problematic. It’s like having a dance partner,” he said.”You don’t want to be exactly like them, as you’ll step on each other’s feet all the time. A good dance partner is someone who has their own personality and can move freely together with you.”
:: 9 :: The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps or Mosaic Stairs | Artists: Aileen Barr & Colette Crutcher | Project Year: 2003 | Type: Urban/Landscape | Address: 16th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122 | Admission: Free | Website: http://www.tiledsteps.org
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project has been a neighborhood effort to create a beautiful mosaic running up the risers of the 163 steps. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the creation of the 163 mosaic panels that were applied to the step risers, over 300 neighbors joined the artists in making them, and over 220 neighbors sponsored handmade animal, bird and fish name tiles imbedded within the mosaic. This project was inspired by the decorated steps that lead up a long hill to the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Chilean artist Jorge Selaron.
:: 10 :: Twin Peaks | Operated by: San Francisco Recreation & Parks | Type: Landscape | Address: 501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114 | Admission: Free | Website: http://www.alcatraztickets.com
At 922 feet in elevation, Twin Peaks is second only to Mt. Davidson in height, offers spectacular views of the Bay Area, and is a world-famous tourist attraction. The twin Parks is a great spot to enjoy the seamless merge of beautiful natural landscape with the astonishing man-made skyline which provide priceless postcard views.
*** If you still need more reasons on why you should break the routine of life and travel, then check out our article on 7 REASONS WHY ARCHITECTS & DESIGNERS SHOULD TRAVEL.
Recommended Book: Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words by Wendy MacNaughton
Take a stroll through the City by the Bay with renowned artist Wendy MacNaughton in this collection of illustrated documentaries.