Monday, November 26, 2007

Steel and glass in the west

John King of the SF Chronicle observes that the steel-and-glass tower is very popular right now in San Francisco. He adds:
San Francisco's City Planning Department wants glass towers to be as transparent as possible, fearing that shiny or mirrored buildings might stick out like glitzy thumbs. But ultraclear panels allow unfiltered sun into a building, driving up energy costs because of heat gain and the need for air conditioning. That runs against state mandates on the use of energy as well as the city's desire for buildings that meet high environmental standards.
Las Vegas's largest development, City Center, has also adopted a glass-and-steel aesthetic, as Don Pittenger recently observed (contemptuously):
I have no idea what was on the minds of the geniuses behind CityCenter. Instead of letting Vegas be Vegas, a lesson that Robert Venturi famously urged architects to study, they opted to grace the strip with the artistic fruits of starchitects. The rogues gallery of architectural offices doing CityCenter buildings includes Cesar Pelli, Rafael Vinoli, Lord Norman Foster, Helmut Jahn and Daniel Libeskind.