The big celebration this weekend also marks the unveiling of the new Golden Gate Bridge entry plaza and Bridge Pavilion, a red-painted visitor's center that's part of $6 million in improvements completed in time for the anniversary. Chron architecture critic John King is less than thrilled with the thing, saying "it's maddening" when a building project like this is "only good" when it could have been great.

He says the new building is "handsome on its own terms, but it's also an 86-foot-long rectangular box" and it's "an imposition" facing you as you approach the bridge from the parking lot.

Also, he's not in love with what they've done with the elegant, original, Bridge Round House, designed as an Art Deco diner by Alfred Finnila in the 1930s. It's being used as a jumping off point for tours now, and there's now a green-screen setup where you can pay $20 to have your picture taken as if you were scaling the cables of the south tower. "Bad move," says King, who would have rather seen this space opened up with a couple of light exhibits and more of a clear vista on the bridge.

But he does like the new plaza and trail system, which he says is "the most satisfying element" of the improvements, and shows off parts of the site that were previously easy to miss.

In related items, here's an Ansel Adams photo from the SFMoMA's collection of the Golden Gate before the bridge.