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September 14, 2016


George Guiver

Before it was a cinema, it was a live act theater. Saw Sonny & Cher there among others. It's a landmark to ugly early architecture to make room for what will probably be a building like so many others.


From the design (which can be viewed at http://burlingameca.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=a76b81d5-e266-4fd7-bbdd-374d2e755a51.pdf) I wouldn't call it a building "like so many others" - I'm sure people will differ on aesthetics, but it will definitely be a contrast with the existing buildings.


Well, here is the thing, it's sure not my favorite building, either, but I don't get to decide-- that's what a licensed architectural historian is for. Some millennial may find playful Googie architecture really cool, but not find any virtue in an authentic craftsman. You have to be really careful with art, and architecture. The point of view definitely can change over time. Ideally, in a city like ours that's been around for over a century, there are examples (good examples) still standing from various decades showing trends that "tell the story" of the town's development. Just look at the Eichlers, and how they are now revered; that was definitely not the case for many decades. What if we'd torn them all down long ago because because some had determined the modern aesthetic to be architecturally inferior?

This c.1966 Hyatt Music Theatre building was indeed live act theater, as Mr. Guiver mentions; it has been altered over time, but not so much: https://www.flickr.com/photos/14696209@N02/7605945150/in/faves-java1888/
With regard to the new structure, it is pretty interesting conceptually, though indeed huge--apparently 700 feet long, as one of the planning commissioners pointed out. I believe the Commission has asked for a model, and that is a great idea. Otherwise on paper, it is somewhat of a challenge to understand how it interfaces with the waterfront and along Bayshore. That said, if we go for bold, then the Bayfront definitely is the place, as long as the public still has ample access visually, and physically, to the shore-- In its own way, the entire Hyatt complex, hotel and all, was also making a bold statement, so this idea isn't such a departure. But this is a very large complex that (by code) has an enormous amount of parking hidden inside the first three stories, above ground level--maybe the whole concept could benefit by being somewhat smaller, requiring less parking, and allowing more open space to let it (us) breathe-


We might as be able to breathe because we certainly won't have much to drink.

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