This website includes interests of a lifetime - ranging across nature, outer space, cities and places arising from the imagination. Auxiliary websites flow from the 'portal elsewhere'.




Note: The year at the bottom of each webpage is the year the page was originally created. Minor modifications or updates will not trigger a change. A complete page redesign, such as is occuring with this website will merit a new year.



High-Rise Killers

High-rise buildings are a key part of the image of the modern city. In cities like New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai they soar to great heights. In others, like Washington or Rome, their height is limited. Regardless of these differences, their impact on the human environment in the urban setting is considerable. The skyscraperpage website is worth investigating by high-rise enthusiasts interested in skyscrapers worldwide.

High-rises are not always positive in their affect on the city. Rather than enhancing the urban environment, when thoughtlessly located or poorly designed they can destroy the urban fabric that their advocates say they personify. The examples below illustrate some of these "high-rise city killers". Although, in at least the first case, the ultimate impact on the city may have been beneficial.

Fontana Towers

This view from the slopes of Russian Hill encompasses a panorama from the Golden Gate to Tiburon on the Marin Peninsula. Two towers block the view across the Bay in the right third of the image.

The residents of Russian Hill are not without wealth and influence. They saw the construction of these towers as the proverbial middle finger raised high. They were determined to assure that developers would never again be allowed to raise such high rise walls to block their views, and sully the traditional neighborhoods astride San Francisco's hills.

This view is taken at the corner of Francisco Street further down Russian Hill. The two 17-story towers are now almost a complete wall blocking the view across the Bay from residents on the hill.

The 17-story slabs, built in 1961 next to Aquatic Park, generated a popular revolt against the "Manhattanization" of San Francisco. Subsequently, the planning commission placed a 40-foot height limit on waterfront development. Decades of strife over building height followed.