You know that piece of etiquette we mentioned last week? The one that said not to put down other neighborhoods? Let's press pause on that real quick. Because we have a yellow-stucco bone to pick with Mission Bay. Specifically, why did San Francisco knowingly and carelessly turn the area into a series of haute dorm units?
Granted, the area is young and still getting its sea legs. It's also brimming with money. The parties responsible for the aesthetic execution of most of UCSF and wildly popular condos in the area should all be given timeouts. Where's the bold? Where's unique? Where's this? You know you're in trouble when an area's parking garages receive more acclaim than anything else.
Now, mind you, we do not fetishize the past or Victorian houses in the same fashion most do. (We'd much prefer a place to find another cute Jack Spade bag than an old bookshop, truth be told.) But what happened to the city's most booming neighborhood is a disgrace to the senses.
To get a better view on what happened, SFist asked Curbed editor Sally Kuchar for her input. Why is Mission Bay so ugly, we asked. Kuchar replied:
Mission Bay is a relatively new neighborhood, so it hasn't had 100+ years to grow into a beautiful and unique flower like some of our more gorgeous neighborhoods. That said, it seems like the people who live there really like living there, because its luxury condo developments sell out very quickly.
I think one of the main reasons that most of its buildings lack curb appeal is because you don't have a good chunk of residents deeply invested in preserving the aesthetic of the neighborhood. Building is the priority. There's not a lot of opposition when it comes to the design of a proposed building. Neighbors haven't lived there for 30+ years like other neighborhoods, so you don't have groups of residents who are passionate about playing a big role in the planning process. Mission Bay is also a biotech hub, and that industry isn't known for letting loose and getting wild when it comes to developing a new campus. Housing developers tend to be more conservative (read: ugly) when it comes to new developments (this is not exclusive to Mission Bay) because they don't want to put off any potential buyers by playing too much into a particular style. You limit your buyer pool when you hire an architect to build you something very unique. I think Mission Bay will eventually blossom into (RIP Salesforce.com campus) something special, but for now its priorities are to build quickly and with function over form.
Alas. Here's hoping for a brighter, better-looking future.
For your judgement, above you will find some pics of the area, which we snapped while on a morning jog. Not for faint of heart.