The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Angels in the Architecture

A hotel driveway entrance is not the sort of thing to which one generally pays much, if any, attention. It's a hotel driveway entrance. How exciting can it be?

But, in the case of the Parc 55 Hilton, in San Francisco, that assumption would be a big mistake.

As you walk past the hotel's covered driveway near the corner of Cyril Magnin and Eddy, don't just keep walking. Venture off the sidewalk and under the drive. Allow your eyes to adjust to the different light. Very shortly, you'll notice that just a few steps away there is a 7-paneled relief sculpture. Draw closer, and you'll see that the sculpture depicts scenes and figures from the history of San Francisco.
 

Detail of photograph of 7-paneled sculpture, San Francisco Yesterday and Today (1984), by Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013), at the Parc 55 Hilton hotel in San Francisco. Original photo © ArtandArchitecture-SF.

Detail of photograph of 7-paneled sculpture, San Francisco Yesterday and Today (1984), by Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013), at the Parc 55 Hilton hotel in San Francisco. Original photo © ArtandArchitecture-SF.


What you're looking at is a 1984 public commission, titled San Francisco Yesterday and Today,  by the sculptor Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013). The workmade with glass fiber-reinforced concrete, was created for the hotel when it was under different ownership as the Parc 55 Wyndham.

Look a little closer at the bottom of the right panel above, and you may see someone that you recognize — a great find by our friend, Joseph Amster.
 

Detail of panel from sculpture, San Francisco Yesterday and Today (1984), by Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013), at the Parc 55 Hilton hotel in San Francisco. Photograph: Joseph Amster.

Detail of panel from sculpture, San Francisco Yesterday and Today (1984), by Ruth Asawa (1926 – 2013), at the Parc 55 Hilton hotel in San Francisco. Photograph: Joseph Amster.


Let this be a lesson to stop and smell the roses — even if the roses might be in a hotel driveway!

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