Thursday, June 2, 2011

Crocker Galleria and New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion

Couple of weeks ago, I parked my car in one of the garages in financial district of San Francisco and rushed into an elevator to go to my meeting. I got out at second level of Crocker Galleria and to my surprise, was beamed with beautiful filtered sun lights and buzzed with chatter of people. I experienced a bust of energy in the place.
The Crocker Galleria 
The Crocker Galleria, located at 50 Post Street is a 3 story building, with sky lighted atrium stretching from Post Street to Sutter Street and lined up with stores and restaurants on all levels. I looked down from second level and saw people gathered around tables filled with colorful vegetables and fruits. It was weekly farmers market. The central open lobby of atrium corridor is wide enough for Farmers to organize their vegetables, fruits and other supply to display and sell. It looked like a perfect place to transform the atrium into this economic and cultural activity. The local residents, passers by, and people not living there but working in the surrounding buildings were stopping to taste the sample and shopping fresh fruits and vegetables.

Social, Health, Green, Economic influences- The farmers market where the certified farmers sell nutritious, Californian grown, ripened on trees or vines fruits or vegetables directly to consumers without using extra packaging. It seems like the building owners and organizers are doing great job of promoting and managing this Farmers Market.

Cultural –Apart from stores, restaurants and art gallery, the building has been a home for the innovative public art installation named “Dialogue” by Mike Garibaldi Frick. The photo shows partial poster but Check out –
I just love the place where all kinds of activities happen and the place or space can adapt to the needs of people.

On the side note, it reminded me the vegetable market I used to visit on every Sunday with my dad or mom to purchase the fresh and wholesale prized vegetables in the old city of Ahmedabad. I remember eating Pani Puri (Street food) after shopping with my father as we had that silent pact about not telling to my mom and ruining the delicious brunch she prepared for us. I do not have the photo but attached photos show the character of the place.

Photo Credit- Reuters

Probably, the Crocker building was not designed for the Farmers Market or not designed to fit other spontaneous activities. As opposed to, the New Amsterdam Pavilion just opened in Battery Park, New York; designed and programmed to create this experience along with others is worth inquiring. 

New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion

Photo Credit-

Location and Architecture -  New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion, located in Peter Minuit Plaza, 5000 sq. ft is designed by internationally celebrated Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio from Amsterdam and is the result of the collaboration between America, especially New York Mayor and Dutch countries. The structure is clean, sleek white with undulating rooflines and curving walls, symbolizing like a flower opening to its surrounding. The glass in the night glows with LED lights and make the structure visible from all over the surrounding area. It houses spontaneous and scheduled activities like regional organic food stalls by Merchants Market, Downtown New York’s Visitor Information Booth, seating places outside etc.

Perfect Location- The sculptural pavilion looks over the Hudson river and has advantages of all people using bicycles, buses, subways and water ferries, who would pass by this lyrical flower like structure and it is hoped to become architectural, historical and cultural landmark. (Check the website)
I have not visited this place after it is constructed and opened for public but sure that it is architecturally and technically noteworthy structure. More so, I hope it fulfills economical and cultural criteria, and leaves visitors with memorable experience.

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