de Young Museum

After the beginning of Winter, the weather suddenly went on the wrong direction. It has been unseasonably warm since Friday. The forecast predicted low 80’s by Tuesday.

Bathed in the afternoon sunlight, I walked to Golden Gate Park, to see the newly opened de Young Museum. Gui told me it had an observatory tower, and it is open to the public for free.

The first glimpse of the park was a little surreal. I spotted shadows of people walking on a high tower which was largely obscured by the trees. From what i could make out, it looked like a spaceship type of structure, or some kind of giant tree house with incredibly angular lines and sharp corners. People looked like busy ants working in a castle.

After i turned the corner, i gasped. What i saw was a dull looking, rusty copper colored fortress. Is it finished? The entire structure looked like it was still covered under a sheet of wire. Very much like the material that used to cover up the construction sites. The high tower must be where the observatory is. The top layer was in glass, but everything else was still under the cover of that mashed up wire material.

What a disgrace, i thought. This looks so dull and monstrous.

After i came closer to the architecture, i was pleasantly surprised by the nice details throughout the structure. Slowly, it won me over.




The copper styled exterior walls were covered with fine engravings. It reminded me of the giant doors in the Forbidden City. The angular lines and interestingly curved out spaces made up the uneven border of the structure. The asymmetry kept the visitor surprised, as such incidents kept on appearing, one couldn’t help but starting to enjoy it. I could see the grand scale and dark labyrinth of Egyptian tomb, mixed with Pompidou-like “inside out” approach to buildings. The ferns planted in the dark narrow corridors between two walls lightened up the place a bit. The tall walls leaned onto each other to create the narrow dark corridors which were reminiscent of Forbidden City again. It spoke of power, shadow, stone, and isolation. The green ferns lived in the corridor were reminders of wild forest and it emphasised on the stream of sunlight. It spoke of life, moisture, growth, and freedom.

The line to the museum ticket counter was too long. Maybe another time, another day. Instead, I visited the observation tower and later went to its cafe for a sandwich.

The colorful glass bulb shaped ceiling light was what draw me into the cafe. Once in, i noticed the scenery and sunlight took in by the glass walls of the room. Presentation was superb for a cafe. But i have to give the thumb-down for the sandwich itself. Pity.

Walking back home in the slowly setting sun, I admired the park dressed in gold by the sun. I’m glad an interesting structure has been built so close to home. Added more city flavor to our future afternoon stroll in the park. After all, one had to fly across the ocean to see Pompidou. I really can’t complain.
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