Local Architecture for the Camera and History Savvy

in Culture

Post-modern structures can make for plain eyesores, what with their uniform patterns and simple symmetry. In Yerba Buena, the rise of such new buildings have created an unlikely medley of buildings old and new, providing a rich architectural tapestry appealing to both the photography and history buffs.

St. Patrick’s Church (on Mission Street between 3rd and 4th Streets), a building about as old as the city itself, is one such focal point. Built in Neo-Gothic style in 1851, it was once a towering testament to spiritual home of San Francisco’s Irish community. Old photos show the church sitting, stately, with rolling hills in the background.

Today the church sits small and antique against the City backdrop. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, itself a hybrid of early- and late-20th century architecture, peeks behind it. Next door, the massive Marriott Marquis, towers over the church, while the Four Seasons’ criss-crossing glass panels lurk behind it. No camera could shoot a portrait of the church without these modern structures.

You can see this in the photos below, where the photographer tried hard to isolate the warm red brick of St. Patrick’s through varied angles. But the interplay of different eras carries its own beauty, particularly the shots in which the old and new are adjacent, elbowing each other like children fidgeting in a church pew.