Tuesday, October 16, 2007

San Francisco Atrium Hotels

Over the weekend, I visited two atrium hotels in San Francisco, one at Embarcadero Center and one near the city's international airport. Writing a chapter for my omnitopia book, I've been doing research on the ways that atrium hotels transform much of public life into a massive interior, creating an enclave against the weather and against troublesome elements of urbanity.

What intrigues me most about these environments is their integration of corporate and consumer spaces. Embarcadero Center opens into an elevated spine of buildings that draw patrons away from the street and into a safe enclosure. the SFO Hyatt enacts a sort of fortress that stands detached from the interstate and surrounding buildings, gathering a wide range of spaces into a singular place.

For me, the atrium has been a hallmark of my personal visions of "the future" since I saw Logan's Run in the late '70s. Though atriums may seem dated in an EPCOT-Center like manner, they are mainstays of buildings rising throughout Asia and the Middle East.

This week I'll post several sets of pictures from my writing-trip. Tomorrow I'll concentrate on individuals in and around these atrium hotels. Thursday I'll present a photographic look behind the scenes of these complex structures. And on Friday I'll show a sign from an atrium elevator that might inspire a chuckle or two.

(Photos by Andrew Wood)


Brian Butko said...

Pretty funny - I saw the first two photos and thought, these remind me of Logan's Run!

Lyn said...

You write very well.

Andrew Wood said...

Thank you!