Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher - SFMoMA

The LOFTY HEIGHTS Interview

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher

C A E N L U C I E R: As a girl who knew exactly what she wanted to do at a young age, talk about your current state of mind as SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design.

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher: At a young age, I saw museum exhibitions as one way to address a gap in arts education and introduce important ideas, new forms and processes seen in architecture and design, and revisit history with a broad audience. I still have those goals as well as an interest in engaging in public dialogue with designers, museum visitors and colleagues. It’s more important than ever to listen, share and take action.

CL: How have you seen the Snoetta designed new museum substantiate the position of  SFMOMA on the national and international museum scene?

JDF: I’ve noticed that tremendous additions to SFMOMA’s collection, including the Fisher Collection loan, which were acquired during the building’s closure, broadened SFMOMA’s audience and engagement significantly.

CL: Is there a favorite work that you enjoy visiting in the museum?

JDF: It is always a treat to walk through the Dan Graham sculpture on the small outdoor balcony on the 4th floor overlooking the Yerba Buena Garden.

CL: In what direction do you see the Architecture and Design department at SFMOMA growing in the years ahead.

JDF: Now that the department and collection is well-established and going on thirty years at SFMOMA, we’ll continue to focus on works that generate new ideas and dialogues, while also turning our attention to visionary contemporary works from the Bay Area and beyond. 

CLICK TWICE   TO WATCH VIDEO  OF SFMOMA A+D COLLECTION

CLICK TWICE TO WATCH VIDEO OF SFMOMA A+D COLLECTION

CL: Your new show, Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism, just opened. How did the idea develop from your initial proposal to a public exhibition.

JDF: SFMOMA’s Architecture + Design gallery has very high walls, and much of the original 1960s designs for The Sea Ranch are small hand-drawings. My colleague and co-curator on the exhibition, Joseph Becker and I decided to recreate a full-scale version of one of the earliest Condominium units to fill the central space, and surround it with drawings and photographs on the gallery walls. Since The Sea Ranch is a bit far, it was important that visitors have an opportunity to experience the interior configuration of the architecture. 

CL: What was your most exciting find during your research for the show?

JDF: There were so many exciting finds! Every day I have a new favorite. Constance Beeson’s 1966 film of a Halprin Workshop showing The Sea Ranch site and people experiencing nature with intent and intensity was as exciting as finding architect Joseph Esherick’s initial Hedgerow house studies. We looked at thousands of drawings and photographs, and narrowed it down to just under one hundred works on view—each one is a gem.

CL: It has been many years since your department published a book in conjunction with a show.  What did you learn from the process.

JDF: While the essay writing is arduous it is so rewarding, and feels like a luxury to be able to spend time considering a subject or period. A book is a more private experience than an exhibition, but can be revisited repeatedly. For me, it is a pleasure to return to an exhibition catalog and remember seeing each work depicted

CL: FOG Fair is this week.  What do you enjoy most about the fair?

JDF: I love speaking to so many people about exciting design for four days straight.

CL: How has FOG Art + Design supported your department’s efforts?

JDF: The FOG Forum supports SFMOMA’s Architecture + Design collection building.

JDF IN DISCUSSION  WITH   BOBBIE STAUFFACHER SOLOMON AT FOG FAIR 2019

JDF IN DISCUSSION WITH BOBBIE STAUFFACHER SOLOMON AT FOG FAIR 2019

CL: What are some of you favorite museums?

JDF: The Zumthor-designed Kolumba Museum in Cologne, Germany, the new Fondazione Prada in Milan by Koolhaas and the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City, . . .

CL: Any favorite architects and designers?

JDF: The ones that keep surprising and challenging me!

JDF ON PANEL  WITH JONY IVE

JDF ON PANEL WITH JONY IVE

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C A E N L U C I E R thanks Jennifer for taking the time to work on this piece with us.

TECH-TONIC SHIFT

Luxury High Rise Living Redefined

By Joseph Lucier

When the Four Seasons Residences first came available for sale in 2001 as a re-purposed office building, few of the city’s high-end residential agents gave the project much notice. Shockingly after all, it was on Market Street! The St. Regis Museum Tower refined the model a few years later nestling up to SFMOMA at 181 Minna Street followed by Millennium Partners doubling down their bet on the neighborhood and building the first luxury “resident-only” Millennium Tower at 301 Mission Street in 2009. Downtown certainly had come a long way since 1984 when pioneer Ned Spieker developed the city’s first mixed use office/residential building (32 units) at 611 Washington Street across from the Transamerica Pyramid and home to Tommy Toy’s fashionable Chinese restaurant.  

four seasons  (far left),  706 Mission  (center),  St. Regis Museum Tower  (far right)

four seasons (far left), 706 Mission (center), St. Regis Museum Tower (far right)

"It would be highly recommended to take a serious look at this constrained market niche for an excellent long-term investment"

Fast forward to 2016…two more ultra-luxury residential projects are underway this year signaling the maturation of the Yerba Buena+SOMA neighborhood and firmly establishing this new hub of sophisticated living in San Francisco. Between these two buildings, 181 Fremont Street, Jay Paul Company’s mixed-use office/residential tower, and the Millennium Partners 706 Mission Street residential tower, 258 more units will be added to the existing stock of 660 residences at the Four Seasons, St. Regis and Millennium. Most important to note is Millennium Partners decision to reduce the number of units in 706 Mission by 17% allowing for larger units that cater to families and increase the stock for proper residences as opposed to the glut of 1300-1600 sqft units. The 2018 completion date of Salesforce Tower and the Transbay Terminal coupled with the continued march of Class A office development will forever shift the nexus of city living, culture, and commerce from the traditional slopes of Pacific Heights and the venerable corridors of the Financial District to the Yerba Buena+SOMA hub.

An astute investor would be advised to know that only 17% of the aforementioned full service concierge condominiums measure over 2500 sqft. It would be highly recommended to take a serious look at this constrained market niche for an excellent long-term investment and the exciting prospect of living in San Francisco’s singularly true cosmopolitan neighborhood.