Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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38 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.ARCHITECTURE & GARDENS ALESSANDRO COLLE/SHUTTERSTOCK; SONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK; AMERICAN SPIRIT/SHUTTERSTOCK . OPPOSITE: TUPUNGATO/SHUTTERSTOCK Victorians are especially numerous in San Francisco, clustered on Alamo Square and in the Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition and Mission districts. Urban eye candy, they are featured on City Guides San Fran- cisco walking tours. By the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, other, newer styles began catching on in California. Beaux Arts architecture lent grandeur to citadels of commerce and government buildings, bequeathing to San Francisco its majestic, domed 1915 City Hall, and the classically graceful, open-air Palace of Fine Arts. But Beaux Arts was a European import, not essentially Californian. Arts & Crafts to Computer Contemporary American Arts and Crafts became closely associated with California at the turn of the 20 th century. The use of natural mate- rials such as warm, burnished wood panels and beams, glass and stone reflected Cali- fornians' deep feeling for nature. Such buildings, exemplified by the 1908 Gamble House in Pasadena, seemed to grow organ- ically out of the earth. The cedar brown shingle wooden homes of Berkeley, fea- tured on Berkeley Architecture Heritage Association walking tours, are pleasing examples of the American Arts and Crafts style. Berkeley affords glimpses of the Bay Region style, a version of Arts and Crafts practiced by Bay Area architects Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan. The streamlined power of early 20 th - century technology found mesmerizing form in the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 1930s. Perhaps the noblest example of Art Deco in North America is the 1937 Golden Gate Bridge. With its taut suspension cables, thrusting towers and trademark International Orange color, the Golden Gate Bridge dramatizes the energy, ambi- tion and power of Art Deco. The next breakthrough for architecture in California came around the turn of the new millennium with what could be called Computer Contemporary style. Here, too, the Golden State shines. Frank Gehry's brilliantly realized 2003 Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with its swooping roofs and shining metallic exterior, is a fantasia that couldn't have been designed without sophisticated computers or built without modern alloys. The perfo- rated copper exterior of San Francisco's 2005 de Young Museum is of a piece with the con- temporary, cutting edge work inside. For an artful fusion of modern technique and nat- uralism, the environmentally attuned 2008 home of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is a must-see. Gardens North & South Major formal public gardens in the modern sense blossomed in California in the early 20 th century, often in association with great private fortunes, enormous mansions and expansive public parks. GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, San Francisco, top; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, above and right; garden at the GeXy Center, previous page.

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