Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections – 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco


Good Evening:

The picture below has thousands of reflections:

525 Golden Gate Avenue, PUC Headquarters, North Face

525 Golden Gate Avenue, PUC Headquarters, North Face

This is the northern face of the headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue. That vertical thing in the above picture (taken at an admittedly artsy-fartsy angle) is a wind sculpture by the environmental artist Ned Kahn. It consists of thousands of roughly four inch square transparent plastic tiles attached to their supporting frame only on the top row. When the wind blows–and boy, does it ever blow–the tiles shake, shimmy and shiver. In effect, you can see the wind by the patterns it creates.

Which brings up an interesting question: how can something that’s transparent also be reflective? I did study basic physics in high school but we never got to that discussion.

The building itself represents the latest in green architecture, and is in the running for official LEED Platinum certification. The south face of 525 GGA features hundreds of translucent glass panels that stick out from the side of the building at almost a 90 degree angle. These panels fulfill a few environmental functions, and one curious side effect; sunlight reflects off them onto the building on the other side of Redwood Alley, producing patterns like these:



Believe it or not, I still have one more contribution to “Reflections,” But I need to do a little tweaking first. Incidentally, this constitutes my 200th blog post. Rather amusing to reflect that when I started “The San Francisco Scene–Seen!” I had doubts about my ability to come up with suitable material.

Thanks once again to all of you for visiting.

Vonn Scott Bair


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