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architecture visual

Architecture / 560 Mission

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I ride down Mis­sion Street every­day, and I always admire the JP Mor­gan Chase build­ing at 560 Mis­sion between First and Sec­ond Street. Most build­ings in down­town SF are earth-toned, and rid­ing among them can feel like flash­ing back to the Gap in the ear­ly 90's — put­ty, mauve, beige, taupe, moss. In con­trast, the Mor­gan build­ing has black steel-and-glass facade with a green­ish tint, pleas­ant­ly blend­ing erec­tor-set order­li­ness with an aquar­i­um-like glow. Today I found out it was designed by Cesar Pel­li, aka the guy/firm behind the Petronas Tow­ers. Each archi­tect in this review of recent archi­tec­ture in the SF Busi­ness Jour­nal describes 560 Mis­sion as their favorite recent SF project.

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architecture visual

Architecture / CIGNA HQ

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Locat­ed among in sub­ur­ban Hart­ford, CT's office parks, strip malls and golf cours­es, the cor­po­rate head­quar­ters of CIGNA are unex­pect­ed­ly cool. Rea­son 1: A ROBOT deliv­ers mail to each depart­ment. Rea­son 2: The build­ing itself is low-lying and sleek, with green-tint­ed win­dows that, on sun­ny days, dis­ap­pear into the sky. It was designed by Gor­don Bun­shaft, who also designed the stun­ning Bei­necke Library at Yale and won the Pritzk­er Prize in 1988, and it's sur­round­ed by gar­dens, court­yards and sculp­ture by land­scap­ing badass Isamu Noguchi. A cou­ple of years ago, CIGNA con­sid­ered tear­ing the build­ing down and sell­ing the land to a golf course devel­op­er, but archi­tec­tur­al preser­va­tion­ists inter­vened. CIGNA staffmem­bers often joked about this, the sub­text being, "Can you believe that any­one would want to pre­serve this?" [A NYT arti­cle from 2001 details the debate]UPDATE: The Hart­ford Courant recent­ly pub­lished a grate­ful edi­to­r­i­al about CIGNA's deci­sion to pre­serve the Bun­shaft build­ing.