[Editor's Note: ....and remove most of the parking for the facility where I now work. Not to mention the nearby Presidio bowling alley.]

If Gap founder Don Fisher has his way, the historic red-brick barracks in the center of San Francisco’s Presidio will be joined by a two-story, 100,000 square foot museum clad in clear glass and white masonry.

The design unveiled today would house artwork from the collection assembled by Fisher and his wife Doris, with glass walls that show off – even to passersby who never enter the museum – sculptures by such artists as Richard Serra and Alexander Calder.

The look is nothing like the faux historic approach taken by George Lucas when the “Star Wars” creator erected a digital arts campus on the east edge of the Presidio, a former military base that became a national park in 1994.

Instead, the design by Gluckman Mayner Architects of New York would be would be resolutely modern – resembling a low stack of flat-roofed rectangular cubes, with the second floor angled so that it pulls back from the base in some areas and cantilevers above it in others.

The design is by Richard Gluckman, whose firm has designed museums devoted to the works of such artists as Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol, as well a wing of the Whitney Museum of Art in New York and a recent expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Most of these projects have involved the renovation of existing structures – or in the case of the new home of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the addition of a modern box of steel and translucent glass to a Mission-style former railroad baggage building.

“Whether the building is an addition to a historic setting, or a separate part of one, we understand how to relate to historic structures,” said Gluckman, who is San Francisco for a hearing scheduled tonight at the Presidio where the design will be presented. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave.

Gluckman said he never thought of mimicking the older pitched-roof military buildings in the Main Post of the Presidio, which is a National Historic Landmark District.

“Trying to create an ‘historic’ environment in a [genuine] historic context is antithetical to the notion of protecting and respecting the integrity of both styles,” Gluckman said.

The Fishers in August announced their desire to build and operate what they call the Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio on land now occupied by a bowling alley.

The Presidio Trust, which manages most of the 1,491-acre park, responded with a formal request for proposals for the site. Fisher’s one rival will also make a presentation tonight. The Presidio Historical Association proposes a 48,000-square-foot “History Center of the Golden Gate.”

The Fisher proposal also includes the restoration of one of the neighboring Montgomery Street barracks from the 1890s. The red-brick structure would house educational space, a bookstore and art studios as well as the offices for the main museum.

The Presidio Trust’s board of directors – on which Don Fisher served for eight years – is scheduled to select one of the teams next month.



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