‘Map of Perceptions’ has lovely views of The City

COURTESY PHOTO

San Francisco’s architecture is often celebrated for its loveliness – no more so than in “San Francisco: A Map of Perceptions.”

The memoir by Italian architect Andrea Ponsi, a Florence resident who lived in San Francisco for many years, offers detailed observations about many of The City’s most well-known buildings and locations, from Washington Square Park to the de Young Museum.

Like his book “Florence: A Map of Perceptions,” this unconventional guide is perfect for architecture buffs who enjoy wandering around The City.

Ponsi’s illustrations, done in muted colors, are beautiful and nicely complement his writing.

There are charming passages, such as his view of the Transamerica Pyramid: “Take one pyramid, Egyptian is fine. Grasp its top with your thumb and forefinger. Then pull up, stretching the point as if it were a piece of very elastic rubber. Pull higher, higher and higher, until its height is at least ten times the width of one side of the base. Prick it with dozens of windows all alike. Then add two ears: the concrete elevator shafts.” In the back of the book is a handy list of illustrations to help readers and visitors find sites in various areas of The City.

Ponsi lived in San Francisco from 1977 to 1988. He writes about homelessness, traffic, fog and other issues. He also includes a couple of pages on “Old Berkeley,” touching on the Claremont Hotel and the arts and crafts style of a home where he stayed.

Part of the book’s appeal is its timelessness. While describing a sidewalk in North Beach, Ponsi calculates exactly how many steps a child or elderly person has to take to avoid stepping on a crack. It’s a poignant moment.

BOOK NOTES

San Francisco: A Map of Perceptions

Written by: Andrea Ponsi (translated by Susan Scott)

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Pages: 107

Price: $24.95

: Andrea PonsiartsbooksFlorence: A Map of PerceptionsSan Francisco: A Map of Perceptions

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Bill to create state public bank could jumpstart SF efforts

California may move $10 billion of its investment banking funds to rebuild… Continue reading

State hires firefighters as wildfire season begins

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday outlined the steps California has taken to… Continue reading

Supes to vote on proposal to ease restrictions on gay bathhouses

Mandelman hopes to ‘make the operation of adult sex venues more feasible.’

Breed, Walton test negative for COVID-19 after exposure to the virus

Mayor London Breed announced Thursday she tested negative for COVID-19 after notified… Continue reading

‘No timetable’ for cable car return, SFMTA says

How the temporary absence of cable cars means more than just a loss of transit routes

Most Read