M. H. de Young Museum, San Francisco
(Herzog & de Meuron, 2005)

Known for their experimentation with materials in their designs, Herzog and de Meuron contributed a modern structure that allows original artifacts to remain, works successfully as a museum, and is a monument in its area just like the original museum. Their choice of natural materials, such as copper, wood, stone, stone, and glass allows the design to become part of the land it occupies. The landscape design includes pathways that lead into the four entrances of the museum, allowing visitors to enter from any side of the building. Inside, wood flooring and finishes create a warm atmosphere that lead visitors from room to room. Large ribbon windows continously remind art lovers of their exterior surroundings, blurring the lines between inside and outside.

Most interesting of all was the choice for the exterior of the museum. Herzog & de Meuron intentionally chose a copper facade which would slowly become green due to oxidation and therefore fade into its natural surroundings. The facade is also textured to represent light filtering through a tree.

Finally, the design becomes a monument on the skyline, rising 144 feet with a tower that twists from the ground to the sky where it aligns with the grid formed by the streets of the nearby neighborhoods. At the top an obvservation floor provides views of the Bay area. The tower’s dramatic twist in its center is a bold statement both close up and from a distance, and is a distinguishable modern monument that honors the history it was designed to represent.
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