Cityscapes: San Francisco and its Buildings by John King
Fifty buildings that represent Icon, Landscape, Styles and Masters, and Change are gathered by San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic King in this slim and delightful volume. As a different way to look at a city, King sees the value in the natural juxtapositions, contradictions, and unexpected moments that belong to evolving metropolises. "The focus is on specific works," he writes, "but I hope that as a whole they convey something true to all great cities: the landscape becomes more intriguing with the ongoing accumulation of layers." Ranging from 1879 to 2009, the buildings selected display both a continuity of community and a diversity of form. Each site is succinctly described in lively text and a couple of images, descriptions updated and enlarged upon from King's "Cityscapes" newspaper column. Be sure to read the acknowledgments, as King discusses the origins of his column's name, and gives a peek into dichotomous thinking between champion architecture critics and their editors.