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The city of Berkeley traditionally has acted as though its downtown bore no relation to UC, despite their shared border. The university repaid the favor by treating downtown like a back alley, necessary but of little note.

Read John King in today’s Chronicle on the city’s loss of a Toyo Ito-designed art museum.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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3 Comments

  1. I entered this comment about King’s article in planetizen.com

    I pass this corner several times a week, and I am glad that I will not have to look at the Toyo Ito museum.

    To see the sort of architecture John King likes, look at his review of a parking garage at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/11/16/DDTE1AIUFM.D… and click on the image to enlarge it and see what the garage actually looks like.

    Anyone walking by on the sidewalk obviously experiences this garage as a bleak glass-and-concrete wall; it is hard to imagine worse urbanism.

    But King loves it because he thinks of it purely as an artsy sculptural object. He doesn’t care at all about creating good places for people to be.

    and someone responded:

    “Beautiful”?

    It looks like a cheese grater.

    The people of Berkeley were fortunate in avoiding that thing.

  2. I’ll leave aside any comments on the aesthetics of the building and the public responses.

    But I always wondered why the museum board wanted to build using an untried, unproven structural system. This is exactly why a new museum is needed in the first place. The current museum, which was built using unproven techniques, essentially failed. No it didn’t collapse but it can’t be made safe for the long term.

  3. With due respect to Toyo Ito, um… that building would have sucked for its location. I makes no (polite) sense at all in context. It does look a bit like half-crushed paper cups with those silly sippy-cup lids from a cafe and it makes some ironic sense in that way….

    Let’s see something lean, mean, not very high but nice and open-space inside. A “boring and humble” building at that site wold not be boring.