Having moved to San Francisco from Boston months prior to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I experienced firsthand the sudden destruction of much of the city’s infrastructure, including the irreparable damage to the elevated 50-foot-high two-level Embarcadero Freeway and the disruptions to transit access. This controversial piece of infrastructural highway, which was envisioned to create an expedited vehicular connection from the city’s Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge, bypassing the city grid, was at that point realized but only in part.
This month we lost a dear colleague and a giant in our field, Art Gensler. Our professional relationship with Art revolved around San Francisco International Airport projects and the Chase Arena, but more importantly, we had a personal relationship, one of friendship and mentoring. Byron’s work with Art on the board of trustees at California College of the Arts brought them together to envision ways of thinking, learning, and communicating about design to look to the future of the profession. Perhaps Art’s most arresting virtue was his innate ability to incessantly look forward and to encourage those around him to expand their viewpoints. Art taught us all how to shake it up, always with great warmth and generosity.