29 August, 2009

Afternoon at the Palace of Fine Arts

Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts gets more than its share of attention, so I can't really bring much insight into the place by giving it a post.  Still, it's a really lovely place for a stroll.  Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it was designed by architect Maybeck to look like a half-forgotten ruin and that's pretty much what it was by the mid '60s when it was completely reconstructed out of concrete (the original structure consisted of a  wood frame, covered with chicken-wire and plaster). The dome and lagoon were recently renovated and work on the rest of the structure begins this fall.  Its an almost impossibly photogenic place which accounts for the steady stream of brides and grooms (and grooms and grooms and brides and brides) tromping to the shores of the lagoon.  The Palace appears in many films and TV shows, most notably VERTIGO and TIME AFTER TIME.  The latter features the dome as the setting for the climactic stand-off between Malcolm McDowell's H.G. Wells and David Warner's Jack the Ripper with Mary Steenburgen's life in the balance.

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