The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece | Mechanics' Institute

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The San Francisco Civic Center: A History of the Design, Controversies, and Realization of a City Beautiful Masterpiece
Cosponsored by AIA and San Francisco Historical Society

Originally planned and designed by John Galen Howard in 1912, the San Francisco Civic Center is considered in both design and materials one of the finest achievements of the American reformist City Beautiful movement, an urban design movement that began more than a century ago. In his book, James W. Haas meticulously unravels the Civic Center's story of perseverance and dysfunction, providing an understanding and appreciation of this local and national treasure. Riddled with inspiration and leadership as well as controversy, The San Francisco Civic Center, much like the complex itself, is a stunning manifestation of the confident spirit of one of America's most dynamic and creative cities.

 

James W. Haas is an author, attorney, and expert on San Francisco's Civic Center history and politics. He has lived in San Francisco most of his life and spent more than forty years engaged in civic projects, including the restoration and completion of San Francisco's Civic Center.

John King is the San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic. He joined the paper in 1992 and has been in his current post since 2001. His writing on architecture and urban design has been honored by groups including the California Preservation Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the California chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2002 and 2003.

 

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