Thank You Ride #9: South San Francisco Industrial Complex Architecture Tour

As my regular readers now, I am currently in training for AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile bike ride from SF to LA that takes place June 2-8, 2019. The preparation for the ride includes not only getting into appropriate physical shape, but also raising funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

So many of my friends and acquaintances supported me so far (here) that I am almost halfway through the minimum fundraising goal (which is $3K) and well on the way toward my personal goal ($5K). About a month ago I started dedicating my training rides to these sponsors, to thank them, and to share experience with them.

The ride I am writing about today happened over a week ago on a Thursday and it is dedicated to one of my anonymous sponsors. This person is somebody who has supported me in various capacities consistently for over 15 years, which is no easy feat, considering I lived in 5 counties, 3 states, and on two coasts over those years, and staying in touch is not my strength. Fortunately, staying in touch and making time for people is my friend’s talent!

This friend appreciates art, design, and architecture. As I rode to work and back, close to 20 miles, Thursday last week, I paid particular attention to the industrial architecture around South San Francisco where I work, especially the area where all the biotech is. Biotech companies first got there in the seventies, and have been expanding ever since.

This means, a variety of architectural paradigms. For instance, here we have some buildings whose architects must have been bored with traditional building shapes and went for the shapes that resemble rolled up paper or an upside down pyramid. The reverse slant of that building faces East-South-East, toward the Bay, I think, so as long as it’s structurally sound, that would enable better views and less mid-day sun. Can’t tell what the point of rolling those other buildings up is though.

Even now there are new buildings being built throughout the area East of US-101. I hope that means more access for all of us who work there, and I wonder what the implications for traffic and commute would be.

For instance, this area just off the Oyster Point Blvd exit off US-101 has developed a lot just in the last couple of years. There is a large cafe in one of the buildings, a pedestrian-friendly zone between the buildings, and the Bay Trail is very close. The buildings themselves look relatively pleasant, especially at sunset.

On the other hand, there are a bunch of buildings dating back probably to the late seventies early eighties, which are pretty much huge blocks of concrete. I suppose that looked nice and modern back in those days, but these days I was primarily amused by strategies to pretty them up. Here is a small gallery of those strategies.

That last building is where I work, and the tree is just outside my office window. The tree is the water gum. It’s native to Australia. As much as I appreciate architecture, given a choice, I’d much rather look at trees all day!


If you want to have a thank you ride dedicated to you, please support me by donating to AIDS LifeCycle on my behalf!  Thank you!

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