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The conversation about the San Diego Symphony’s plans to enhance its Seventh Avenue entrance has continued to develop this week. I wanted to pull out a few more of your comments and thoughts since the my last roundup.
For at least one reader, it seems the symphony’s plea worked for people to know where the hall is.
“Great design! I would attend, now that I know where it is!” wrote reader Eliel Lopez.
Michael Stepner, former city architect, said the plan is “long overdue.” He wrote to illuminate some context from the 1980s when Symphony Towers was under construction:
The building was a product of the modernism design approach of the time — one that did not recognize the importance of a building’s relationship to the street nor how that relationship is a critical factor in the vibrancy of a downtown.
The city planning department pushed strongly to have a real pedestrian-friendly street frontage on both the office tower and the hotel rather than the bland, pedestrian-unfriendly lobby that is there — one that hides one of our true architectural jewels. But the recommendation of the staff was overruled; motivated by the strong desire to do anything that would preserve the theater and build the office tower and the hotel.
You can read Stepner’s whole letter here. He now teaches along with the plan’s designer, Mitra Kanaani, at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.
With the caveat that she’s not a design critic, local law professor Jackie Slotkin wrote with a concern about the placement of the bass clef:
Though very interesting, the sculptural element (bass clef) looks like an accident waiting to happen because it sits in the middle of an area where people will walk in and out of the building. Of course, this could be the lawyer in me, not the “artist” (which I’m not, though I love to collect art and sculpture).
Similarly, reader Elizabeth Nolan thinks people are likely looking down when they walk past the building because of the street’s steep incline. “Why not put some notes on the sidewalk?” she asks. And she suggests the symphony add an audio component and pipe some music out to the street every hour or so.
Edwin Rudetsky suggested illuminated signs on nearby lampposts instead.
Reader Walter Chambers dislikes the plan to include literal musical shapes in the sculpture.
That’s like putting a hamburger outside a McDonalds. Surely they can come up with something more creative and urban.
Brian Goeltzenleuchter said, “This is an interesting problem but an embarrassing solution.”
And I’d asked if any of you had stories about going to see movies in the Fox Theatre. Reader Ruth Hayward sent us a note saying her first visit to the theater was before World War II:
You entered past the marquee, past the ticket booth, through the outer lobby. This area aligns with the current internal doors where present tickets are taken. The space at Seventh Avenue and B Street, where the current Symphony internal lobby with ticket windows is, was a store that sold snack items and candy. At the rear of the main floor were the “loge seats” that cost more. They were leather, very over-stuffed and reclined. La-Z-Boy would be put to shame.
What do you think? If you missed our coverage of this last week, catch up on the back story by watching this short video and then check out the renderings. You can read more comments in response here, then tell us what you think of the plan by leaving your comment below or on Facebook.
I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at email@example.com or 619.325.0531.
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