SNIPS AND SNIPES

JEFF ATLAS

JEFF ATLAS

IT'S THAT IT ENDS UP LOOKING LIKE A 1940'S KELVINATOR FRIDGE. AND THAT TRULY LEAVES ME FEELING COLD.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL

SAN FRANCISCO INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL

Notable Help

From the desk of Jeff Atlas

I understand you had the good fortune to work with Hugh Newell Jacobsen and Jacobsen Architecture on the creation of your Napa Valley home. I am about to embark on a passion project and I would like your advice on how approach a notable architect.

If considering a renowned architect, here are things to keep in mind:  The architects interview you just as much as you interview them.  They can pick the clients they choose to work with and don’t want to take on someone who will question every decision they make. Don’t hire an architect known for a certain style, then ask for something completely different. Either buy into their overall vision or don’t. If you want a center-hall Colonial, don’t select an architect known for innovative floor plans.  Do try to become a student of the architects’ work. Be able to refer to things they have done in the past. It’s a matter of being an “educated consumer.” They will also appreciate your knowledge and respect your comments as you proceed.  Realize that even the Pope is not infallible. As much as you might admire the work of  your architects, they aren’t always right. Asking intelligent questions is not the same thing as questioning their vision.  Lastly, ascertain how much the well-known architect will actually be involved.  In my case, Jacobsen Architecture is very small and produces only a handful of projects each year. Hugh and Simon Jacobsen were intimately involved with every decision. In larger firms, this may not be the case.

With the current high rise building craze that is going on in San Francisco, should we fear that some of these buildings will not be attractive additions to our city's aesthetic? 

If you are asking to bring out the snarchitect in me, look no further than the San Francisco Intercontinental Hotel that was completed in 2003 .  How does a building like this get built?  What's the purpose of the City design review, if not to prevent something like this.  It's not just that the blue glass would be more at home in Miami.  It's not just that the whole thing looks slightly bulbous.  It's that it ends up looking like a 1940's Kelvinator fridge.  And that truly leaves me feeling cold.

Our newly minted tech friends just completed their showcase home and had us over to see their efforts.  We thought their "no budget" project would have enabled more sophisticated results?

We all know that when it comes to creating interior design, taste without money will probably turn out fine, but money without taste is always a disaster!

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